Hi, I’m Matea, the founder, blogger, and writer behind OLYRUN.
Thanks for visiting my blog!
OLYRUN is a blog launched in 2019 with the desire of providing help in the form of my knowledge and experience to all who love running and active living. This idea already came to mind during my athletic career, but my priorities were different at the time. Besides training every day, sometimes even two times a day, I was balancing my college obligations and family life.
In 2016 I have accomplished my dream by taking part in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It has always been my wish to connect my two loves in life, sport and law. In my effort to do so, alongside daily training, I graduated from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, defending a thesis on the Professional athlete’s work. I would say that 2016 was my year.
In 2017 I started working. Along with the job, I continued training and preparing for bigger competitions.
However, with time, it became increasingly harder to balance my job, daily training, and family obligations. I was not ready to focus entirely on running. I ran (for now ?) my last marathon on 14 October 2018 in Zagreb, finishing with 2:48:07 and winning third place.
For a longer period of time, I was unable to find pleasure only in training. When you become aware that you’re giving something up and no longer find it fulfilling, it is time for a new page in life. While it was extremely hard to give up professional running, on the other hand, I felt happy and free listening to my inner voice. I still run every day and enjoy every mile of it.
With the great support of my husband Tomo, I started the OLYRUN blog.
My part of the job is to share my experience and knowledge with all of you, while Tomo deals with the design and presentation of content, along with all the technical issues.
It was not easy to find an authentic name for a blog. In the end, we chose OLYRUN, which is a combination of the two words “Olympic Runner”. I hope you like it as well.
Let’s now go through some of the questions I get asked most frequently!
Where are you from?
I was born on 14 March 1989 in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, where I also live.
Are you married?
Yes I am. I got married in October 2017. My husband Tomo is a great support to me in everything and together we are a great team.
In 2022, I became the mother of a wonderful boy, who brought immeasurable gratitude and happiness into our life.
When I run, I feel free and fulfilled. Every step, every kilometer is a chance to overcome all obstacles, test my boundaries, and discover how far I can go.
When and how did you start running?
I’ve been in sports all my life. I trained tennis and acrobatic rock’n’roll from an early age and got into athletics at the end of my 3rd grade of high school. As I sometimes ran by myself, one triathlete spotted me and advised me to apply at the athletics club. After a couple of months of thinking, I listened to his advice and started training under coach Nina Katalinić, after which I quickly joined a more advanced group, under my long-time coach Mladen Katalinić.
How did your athletics career develop?
At the beginning of my athletic career, I ran middle and long distances and competed in numerous domestic and international competitions. Among the more notable results that I’ve accomplished in that period, I would mention 6th place in the women’s 10000m at the European Athletics U23 Championship in Ostrava and national records in 10000m in the U20 category, and 5000m and 10000m in the U23 category.
I ran my first marathon in 2015 in Zagreb, where I achieved the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Besides the Olympics, I competed in the 50 km World Championships in Doha in 2016, where my team won the bronze medal. I also ran a marathon at the 2017 World Championships in London and at the 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin.
During my career, I also competed in numerous European and World road, mountain, cross country, and indoor races.
What is your favorite workout?
When I was training seriously, my favorite workout was 10x1000m intervals on the track. However, now that I run for enjoyment, I do not concern myself with pace and like fartlek training the most.
What is your favorite running discipline?
Each is special in its own way, I can’t single out any of them.
What is your favorite victory?
A number of them stayed as special memories. One of them is winning the 2015 San Sebastian marathon, which was my second running marathon. Also, I won the 33rd Plitvice marathon in 2018. There I won the title of the national marathon champion, and due to the track being extremely difficult and demanding, making the race a big challenge in itself. I also remember the victory at the Split half marathon in 2018 because of the strong bora wind and snow, which is unusual for that area.
What is your favorite race?
My favorite race is the 24th Zagreb marathon, held in 2015. That was my first marathon run and that is also where I’ve fulfilled the qualifying standard for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
How does it feel to be an Olympic athlete and a member of the Croatian national team?
There are plenty of different emotions. Above all, I feel gratitude for having the chance of competing at the Olympic Games and living those unforgettable moments, then pride, honor, but also a great responsibility.
How did you manage to balance your college obligations, job, training, races, family…?
The most important things are time management, will, great support, and understanding of your loved ones. There were, of course, some tougher times: during college I used to carry books on competitions and training camps, studying whenever I had the time. However, when you have a goal in front of you and do what you love, everything is possible.
Have you ever had problems with injuries and how did you deal with them?
Unfortunately, I had problems with injuries. One of them was the iliotibial band syndrome, which I had during the preparations for the Olympic Games. Whenever I was injured, I did everything I could to speed up the healing process. I did alternative training like rollerblading, cycling, and swimming in order to stay in shape. With that, I also did strength training and physical therapy. What I’ve learned is that, no matter what injury comes, the most important thing is to stay positive and be patient and see the whole situation as an opportunity for strengthening your weaknesses.
Are there any specific life lessons that you’ve learned from running?
Running taught me that hard work always pays off in the end and that there are no limits. Running taught me patience and persistence. It is important to believe in yourself and what you do, be brave, and not give up on your dreams!
Personal bests and accomplishments
|Marathon||2:41:42||Zagreb (CRO)||8 OCT 2017|
|Half Marathon||1:15:40||Zagreb (CRO)||11 NOV 2012|
|10 kilometers||35:20||Karlovac (CRO)||8 JUN 2018|
|10000 meters||34:28.94||Ostrava (CZE)||15 JUL 2011|
|5000 meters||16:19.80||Riga (LAT)||22 JUN 2014|
|3000 meters||9:24.83||Tel Aviv (ISR)||24 JUN 2017|
|3000 meters indoor||9:22.64||Istanbul (TUR)||22 FEB 2014|
|2000 meters||6:17.32||Maribor (SLO)||3 JUL 2008|
|1500 meters||4:26.07||Stara Zagora (BUL)||28 JUL 2013|
|1500 meters indoor||4:22.81||Istanbul (TUR)||23 FEB 2013|
|25 FEB 2018||Split Half Marathon||Half Marathon||1||01:16:29|
|24 MAR 2018||Valencia IAAF World Half Marathon Championshps||Half Marathon||DNF|
|2 JUN 2018||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||5000 meters||2||18:49.5|
|3 JUN 2018||33rd Plitvice Marathon – MEDO||Marathon||1||2:55:29|
|8 JUN 2018||Karlovac 10 km||10 kilometers||4||35:20:00|
|29 JUL 2018||Zagreb Croatian Ch.||3000 meters||5||09:53.8|
|12 AUG 2018||Berlin European Championships||Marathon||45||02:56:29|
|15 SEP 2018||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||5000 meters||1||17:32.0|
|16 SEP 2018||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||3000 meters||2||10:18.1|
|30 SEP 2018||Požega Croatian Half Marathon Ch.||Half Marathon||4||01:16:06|
|14 OCT 2018||Zagreb Marathon||Marathon||3||02:48:07|
|26 FEB 2017||Split Half Marathon||Half Marathon||7||01:21:43|
|26 MAR 2017||Velika Gorica Turopoljski Half Marathon||Half Marathon||1||01:16:51|
|10 JUN 2017||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||5000 meters||1||16:45.2|
|11 JUN 2017||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||3000 meters||1||09:42.4|
|24 JUN 2017||Tel Aviv European Team Ch. 2nd League||3000 meters||4||09:24.8|
|25 JUN 2017||Tel Aviv European Team Ch. 2nd League||5000 meters||3||16:24.5|
|8 JUL 2017||Zagreb Croatian Ch.||5000 meters||1||17:04.8|
|9 JUL 2017||Zagreb Croatian Ch.||5000 meters||2||09:50.6|
|6 AUG 2017||London IAAF World Championships in Athletics||Marathon||69||02:55:06|
|16 SEP 2017||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||5000 meters||3||18:22.3|
|17 SEP 2017||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||3000 meters||2||09:58.7|
|8 OCT 2017||Zagreb Marathon||Marathon||4||02:41:42|
|11 JUN 2016||Varaždin Croatian Club Ch.||5000 meters||2||17:19.4|
|30 JUL 2016||Zagreb Croatian Ch.||5000 meters||2||17:25.8|
|31 JUL 2016||Zagreb Croatian Ch.||3000 meters||2||10:19.1|
|14 AUG 2016||Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games||Marathon||104||02:50:00|
|10 SEP 2016||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||3000 meters||2||10:08.7|
|11 SEP 2016||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||3000 meters||1||17:56.1|
|9 OCT 2016||Zagreb Marathon||Marathon||7||02:42:28|
|14 FEB 2015||Wien ASVÖ Indoor Gala||3000 meters indoor||2||09:47.0|
|21 MAR 2015||Pula||3000 meters||2||09:36.7|
|16 MAY 2015||Zagreb Open||5000 meters||1||18:01.0|
|13 JUN 2015||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||5000 meters||1||17:31.5|
|21 JUN 2015||Stara Zagora European Team Ch. 2nd League||5000 meters||5||17:38.0|
|25 JUL 2015||Varaždin Croatian Ch.||5000 meters||2||17:31.3|
|19 SEP 2015||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||3000 meters||1||10:15.9|
|20 SEP 2015||Zagreb Croatian Club Ch.||5000 meters||1||17:12.2|
|11 OCT 2015||Zagreb Marathon||Marathon||4||02:44:55|
|29 NOV 2015||San Sebastián Marathon||Marathon||1||02:45:25|
Results from www.worldathletics.org.