Lisa Stublic

School — Columbia (2006)
Country — Croatia
Hometown — Waterbury, Conn.
Event — Marathon (NBC Preview)
Event Finals — Sun., August 5, 6 am Eastern

Lisa Stublic may not have originally planned to become a professional runner, but life slowly showed her that it was meant to be. Stublic only picked up running in high school in order to please some teachers who pressured her to do a sport. However, she grew to view running as a hobby… one that she came to master.

At Columbia, Stublic was a member of the cross country team that dominated Heps from 2002 through 2005 and earned individual All-American honors her senior year (2005). On the track, Stublic focused on the 10,000m and steeplechase, in which she finished 10th at the 2006 NCAAs her senior year.

Stublic originally traveled to Croatia in 2008 to learn more about the country where her father was born and to learn the language. She also kept running in an attempt to qualify for the 2009 World Championships in the steeplechase, but, unfortunately, she missed the qualifying time by 14 seconds. Her coach, Slavko Petrovic, convinced Stublic to try the marathon as he felt her body type was more naturally built for that distance. She qualified for the Games in her very first marathon, finishing the 2010 Berlin Marathon in 2:33:42.

Since then, she has improved her personal best to 2:30.46 — a Croatian national record — and competed at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. She also holds national records in the steeplechase (10:09.56), 5,000m (16:08.33) and half marathon (1:14:15). By running in London, Stublic becomes Croatia’s first female Olympic marathoner.

Additional resources: Personal website
Hartford Magazine: Lisa Stublic, Marathon
Hartford Courant: Waterbury Native Bringing Long-Distance Glory To Croatia Preparing For The Marathon
Republican American: Stublic’s Path Heads Straight To London
National News Magazine: From Hobby To The First Croatian Olympic Marathon (in Croatian)