Zika (Janes) Rea is a co-founder of the ZAP Fitness Foundation. Zika grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO and attended Mary Institute St. Louis Country Day School where interest in running started. After high school she attended Emory University in Atlanta, GA and received a BS in Biology. While at Emory her interest in running became a passion and soon after graduation she decided to make running a priority and set the goal of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the Marathon.
It was at this time that she and Andy Palmer began to dream of a way to create a training center for Elite Runners that included programs and Running Camps for recreational runners. In 2002 Zika and Andy moved to Blowing Rock, NC and began making their dream a reality in ZAP Fitness. While buildings were being constructed and business plans put on paper, Zika attended Appalachian State University for a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science.
In February 2002 Zika was in her last semester of Grad School and preparing to run her first marathon when she lost Andy to a heart attack. She was determined to go on and make ZAP Fitness a success as well as find success in her own running. Just weeks after Andy passed away Zika completed her first marathon (Motorola Austin, TX) knowing that Andy would not want her to stop chasing her dreams. ZAP opened that summer and a year after running her first marathon Zika returned to Austin, TX and qualified for her first Olympic Trials. Zika continued her running success with a second place finish at the Twin Cities Marathon (US Marathon Championships) in 2005 and a PR of 2:41:06.
Zika is the President of the ZAP Fitness Foundation and Director of ZAP Fitness. She handles the “business side” of ZAP including the administrative work, management of the resident ZAP athletes, and camp director responsibilities for the ZAP Running Camps. She puts her Exercise Science background to good use giving talks at camps on Nutrition and Exercise Science as well as Lactate Threshold testing on the ZAP athletes. She enjoys hosting hundreds of runners at ZAP each year and thrives on the energy they bring to ZAP.
Zika’s running career was sidelined in 2006 with an injury which continues to hinder her running. But injuries can be a blessing in disguise and this one allowed Zika to focus on something new, being a mom. She and her husband Pete welcomed their first child into the world on March 17, 2009 Elyse Franziska Rea.
2nd place finish US Marathon Championships 2005- Twin Cities Marathon
Running, Hiking, being a mom to our daughter Elyse, son Sean, and our dogs Angel and Nala, baking and cooking, watching reality TV, sleeping.