Fantastic story from Runner’s World:
Fourteen-year-old Winter Vinecki crossed the finish line of the Athens Classic Marathon yesterday, becoming the youngest person, male or female, to run a marathon on all seven continents.
The seasoned young athlete—she’s been racing triathlons since age 5—completed the hilly course from Marathon to the Olympic stadium in Athens in 4:03:53.
Vinecki was thrilled to meet her goal, but as she entered the stadium, her mind was on her dad. Five years ago, Vinecki’s father died of an aggressive form of prostate cancer. At the time, she was competing in Olympic distance triathlons and had intended to use her racing to highlight childhood obesity. Instead, she formed the nonprofit Team Winter to honor her father and raise funds for prostate cancer research. To date, she has raised nearly a million dollars for cancer research.
“This record is not for me but for the one in six men and families affected by prostate cancer,” Vinecki said in a statement released by Marathon Tours & Travel, which founded the Seven Continents Club after putting on the first marathon in Antarctica in 1995.
Her mom has been with her every step of the way. Dawn Estelle finished the Athens race in 6:23 (pictured with Vinecki at the finish line), making the pair the first mother-and-daughter team to run 26.2 miles on all seven continents.
Vinecki’s quest began with the Eugene Marathon in 2012, where she finished in 3:45, her fastest marathon to date. She ran the Maasai Marathon in Kenya in 4:04, taking third overall in the women’s race. In April, it was on to Antarctica, where Vineski placed third again with a nearly five hour finish in 22-degree temperatures, becoming, arguably, the youngest person to finish a marathon on the southernmost continent.
Since then, Vinecki has completed marathons in Mongolia, New Zealand and Peru. At the South American race, the Inca Trail Marathon, Vinecki ran her longest 26.2-miler, but it was also her first marathon win. With a time of 9:18:44 on the notoriously tough course, Vinecki took the women’s title and set a new course record.
Vinecki, who is an ace student at Stanford University’s online high school and a two-time Ironkids national champion, trains in Park City, Utah as the youngest member of the Fly Elite aerials ski team and has her eyes on the 2018 Olympics. She qualified for the Junior Freestyle Skiing World Championships this year, but gave up her spot in order pursue the seven continents. With that record behind her, she’s now focused on making the world team again. And perhaps setting a new marathon personal best. Before boarding a flight home from Athens, Vineckitweeted, “What if….. Marathons done–for awhile Time to start working on #speed again!”