Director of Community Development Places 5th at Senior National Games

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Fontana California


July 5, 2017

Zai AbuBaker Places 5th at Nat. Senior Games

Fontana Director of Community Development Places 5th at Senior National Games

Fontana, Calif., The City of Fontana's Director of Community Development Zai AbuBakar is passionate about running and participating in 5K races throughout the country. She recently added a couple more medals to her collection after placing 5th in the National Senior Games 5K category in Birmingham, Alabama. Zai participated in the age group 50-54 and finished the race 13th overall, out of the 101 females participating. She also came in 61st place overall, out of 234 total runners including men and women. In addition to her recent achievement she also took top honors in her age group at the Fontana Days 5K Race. She placed 1st in the age group 50-54 with a time of 22 minutes and 39 seconds and placed third overall, among the female runners. What started as a way to prevent regular asthma attacks has turned into a lifelong passion for healthy living.   

At the tender age of six, Zai was diagnosed with asthma. She suffered regular asthma attacks and wondered how it would get in the way of  her life. It wasn't until her dad suggested that she try running to strengthen her lungs that she decided asthma would not be a limiting factor but instead a source of motivation. She never looked back. Over the years, on top of the health benefits, she found that running helped her unwind and it also opened up a new world. "Running gets me to travel to places that I have never been like competing in the Senior National Games in Birmingham, Alabama and meeting new people that inspire me," stated Zai AbuBakar. She noted running alongside a 101 year old women during the senior games who started running at the age of 100. "Staying active has many benefits including health and slowing the process of aging."

As the Community Development Director for the City of Fontana, Zai AbuBakar is tasked with improving the quality of life for Fontana residents through quality development and good urban design for residential, commercial, industrial projects as well parks and recreation projects so residents are proud to live in their community, have access to jobs, schools, retail, restaurants, places to recreate and entertain. Zai understands that a healthy community starts with quality developments that promote a stronger sense of civic pride. She encourages the community to take advantage of Fontana's great parks and Pacific Electric Trail that allows runners, walkers and cyclists many outdoor and recreation opportunities.   

Zai AbuBakar never dreamed that she would be winning races at this stage in her life. She wants to inspire others suffering from asthma to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. "You are never too old to get started, said Zai. "I keep thinking about that 101 year old woman running the 5K in Alabama and hope to still be running at that age." Zai has her eyes set on the next Senior National Games where she hopes to place again. The Senior National Games occur every two years, with the next games scheduled for 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Until then, you'll probably see Zai running along the PE trail training for her next race or inside the Development Services Office at City Hall working on bringing quality development to the city. 


Running with a Message for Better Health
Running with a Message for Healthy Living