Croatia's Stublic nails a national marathon record in Zurich

Stublic Lisa GI
Getty Images

Lisa Stublic of Croatia. (Getty Images)

Lisa Stublic made a huge breakthrough when she won at the Zurich Marathon in a Croatian national record of 2:25:44 on Sunday, taking more than five minutes off her own previous record of 2:30:46.

The diminutive 28-year-old Stublic, just 1.58m tall, produced the second fastest time by a European this year after giving notice that she was in great shape when finishing third in the New York City Half Marathon last month in another national record of 69:18.

Last December, she had finished ninth at the 2012 SPAR European Cross Country Championships and the bitterly cold conditions in Budapest will have no doubt have been recalled while she was racing over 42 kilometres on Sunday and might have even helped prepare her.

Making Stublic's Zurich time even more impressive was the fact that the conditions in the Swiss city were hardly ideal, with the temperature just a few degrees above zero. She ran the entire race with a hat, gloves and long sleeves to keep warm.

Stublic was more than a minute ahead of her nearest rival at the halfway point, which she passed in 1:12:40 and continued to run fluently until about six kilometres from the finish, when her quadriceps started to tighten.

"This was my fifth marathon in my career and I am extremely happy with the result. The plan was to get through the half marathon mark between 1:12:40 and 1:13:00. I ran with several men and we went through the half in 1:12:40. At that point, I felt great physically.

"After that, the plan was to keep to this pace or to try to accelerate. The last six kilometres were a bit difficult. My quads became very heavy, so I had to focus on the movement of my hands and get my legs to follow," explained Stublic.

"About 200 metres before the finish, I started to sprint; but that was not a good idea. Almost immediately, I stopped and slowed down to a jog because as soon as I started to sprint, I felt that my quads were going to collapse. But this is a marathon, and the real race begins with seven kilometres to go, and it is essential to be able to endure some pain.

"One thing that pleasantly surprised me was not so much the time, my coach and I knew that I could run around 2:25 or 2:26 if the weather is good and nothing bad happens during the race, but the fact that I did not lose any of my toe nails, which I've done in my previous marathons," revealed Stublic.

In second place was Ukraine's former SPAR European Cross Country Championships winner Tetyana Holovchenko, who clocked also a personal best of 2:31:10.

Eritrea's Abraham Tadesse won the men's race in new course record and personal best of 2:07:44, improving the former mark of 2:08:19 by Switzerland's Viktor Rothlin from 2007.

Tadesse has been resident in Switzerland for several years and is hoping to be granted Swiss citizenship in time to be able to compete at the European Athletics Championships in the same city next year. The top European finisher in Zurich this year was Russia's Oleg Kulkov, who finished fourth in 2:11:33.