On November 10, 14-year-old Winter Vinecki completed a marathon in Athens, Greece, in 4 hours, 3 minutes and 53 seconds.
When the Michigan teen crossed the finish line at the Olympic stadium, she became the youngest person in the world to run a marathon on all seven continents, something Winter accomplished in just 18 months.
The impressive feat was done alongside her mother, Dr. Dawn Estelle, which also makes the duo the first mother-daughter pair to complete seven marathons on seven continents: in Oregon, Kenya, Antarctica, Peru, New Zealand, Mongolia and Greece.
— Winter Vinecki (@WinterVinecki) November 10, 2013
"By running these marathons with her I could then empathize with her on how tough they were, how tough training for them was and share the emotion of completing each," Estelle says. "I also want to show her that I, too, could do anything I put my mind to and that I can be a full-time mom, a full-time dad, a full-time physician and still train and run seven marathons in 18 months at age 45," Estelle told TODAY.com.
Winter lost her father, who inspired her to start running at the age of 5, to an aggressive form of prostate cancer when she was 9.
After her father died, Winter decided to pay tribute to him with a very specific running goal: to run marathons in every continent before she turned 15, setting a new world record.
When Winter crossed the final finish line in Athens, she exclaimed: "This is for you, Dad."
"I'll do everything I can to put an end to prostate cancer and help find a cure, so other families don't have to endure the hardships that I faced," Winter said.
"She has no other way to make her dad proud," Estelle added. "She can't jump on his lap and give him a hug. She can’t run beside him and play anymore. I think she uses her success as an athlete to honour her dad and so that the whole world knows who her dad is."
[ More Good News: Man who came in last in Chicago Marathon has a lot to celebrate ]
The mother-daughter races also gave Winter the chance to spend quality time with her mom, as the bubbly teen is currently living away from home, with a host family in Park City, Utah, where she is training to compete in the 2018 Olympics in aerial skiing.
"Aerial skiing is more of a skill sport. It takes more guts and willpower to get off the jump," Winter told TODAY.com. "But running is how I stay connected with my dad."
With the Olympics to train for, an education to pursue and no desire to hang up her running shoes anytime soon, Winter says she's excited to find out what else she can accomplish.
"This is just the beginning," Winter told the Statesman Journal. "If anything, this just taught me that I can do anything, no matter how impossible it seems. As my dad taught me, never give in. Never give in despite the critics and the people that say it can’t be done."