Winter Vinecki is awe-inspiring — at only fifteen years old, she’s been participating in triathlons, marathons and skiing competitions for nearly a decade. But it’s not her many trophies and medals that are her most remarkable achievement. In 2009, Winter lost her father Michael, at age 40, to prostate cancer. Only nine at the time, Winter vowed to use her talents to help find a cure for prostate cancer and to make sure other families wouldn’t have to face the same tragedy.
She founded Team Winter to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer, and has achieved this by running a marathon on all seven continents before reaching the age of 15. Wherever she travels for her races and marathons, she promotes Team Winter, engaging child and adult athletes all over the world in her efforts. To date, she has raised more than $400,000 for prostate cancer research.
In addition to setting the world record for the youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents, Winter also set the world record for the youngest person to run 26.2 miles in Antarctica and is the overall female winner of the 2013 Inca Trail Marathon, known as the “Toughest Marathon in the World.” Each first place trophy she wins is sent to someone affected by prostate cancer as a symbol of solidarity.
Winter received the Annika Inspiration Award at Billie Jean King’s 2011 Annual Salute to Women in Sports Gala. She hopes to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics as an aerial skier and currently lives and trains at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. She may one day be on an Olympic medal stand — for Winter, this would be an opportunity to put a worldwide spotlight on prostate cancer awareness.