At the age of 5, when most kids are learning how to read or write, Winter Vinecki began running triathlons. Racing was her means of shedding light on the growing problem of childhood obesity, until the spring of 2008, when a personal tragedy would change the course of her athletic career. Her father, Michael, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Shortly following his death, Winter discovered a new motivation for running. She vowed to run a marathon in all 7 continents before the age of 15 in honor of her dad. In the process, she also founded Team Winter, a vessel for funding prostate cancer research in hopes of finding a cure for the disease. 7 continents and $400,000 later, Winter’s competitive spirit is still going strong. In the light of her hardship and obstacles, she offers her tips for conquering it all:
1. In light of personal hardship, how do you recommend others to continue on and work toward a bigger goal?
I think the biggest thing is just to never give in and to live each day like it’s your last because you never know. You just want to put in all that you can. Go for your victories and dream big because you don’t want to get to tomorrow and wish you would’ve taken the opportunity and then regret it.
2. In your TED talk, you said that age is just a number. What is one piece of advice you can offer to kids of this generation?
Don’t let age, gender and race be a barrier and then dream big.
3. What is your best tip for staying healthy?
Of course you want to live an active, positive, healthy life style, but I think in order to do that, the two most important things are exercise and nutrition. Just make sure you’re going out there and doing exercise every day whether you bike ride with your friends or jump rope or run around the block. And for nutrition, just watch portion size, because a lot of the time, wrappers will say it’s really healthy and only has ninety calories, but that’s only one serving and you’re probably eating much more that that. So watch portion size and eat tons of fruit, vegetables and a lot of protein like chicken and fish.
4. Best piece of advice ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is from Diana Nyad, who is a woman who swam from Cuba to Florida. I remember I met her at an event in NYC a couple of years ago. I was talking to her and she said, “Winter, don’t ever let them tell you it can’t be done.”
That’s a good piece of advice, but don’t worry Diana, Winter has never let age stop her from accomplishing her goals. Her six pack can testify.