The run honors Brittni and Brynn Frace’s lives and legacy, and raises money for the sport at the same time
SANTA MARGARITA — Local runners and even some from out of state returned to Santa Margarita Lake for the 6th Annual Running Chicken Fun Run. The 10K and 5K run/walk celebrating the lives and legacies of sisters and runners Brittni “Bitti” and Brynn Frace took place in the early morning of Sunday, Jan. 7. In fact, it was the event’s biggest turnout to date.
“This is the most runners and participants that we’ve had in the six years of doing it. So we’re really excited about the turnout. It seems like it went great. The weather was perfect; the eagles were out, just textbook. It was a great day,” said Brittni and Brynn’s father, Warren Frace. “We had about 500 [runners] sign up total. It looks like we had almost 400 out here on the track today.”
On top of the participants who showed up to the course, a good number of people ran virtually if they couldn’t make it out to the lake. But most runners on the course have participated for multiple years.
“I’ve been involved with this Chicken Run from the start,” said Angela Pericic, whose kids ran at Atascadero High School, which she also attended. “I always come out here to support the family, the friends, and the community. It’s a very emotional time. A very happy time. It’s a beautiful event. It’s supporting the running community which is so important for Atascadero. The cross country team, the track team.”
The Fun Run has a little bit of something for all levels of runners and walkers. Many runners are already familiar with the course, as it’s the one the AHS cross-country team uses and the same course that Brittni and Brynn ran on. The 5K is mostly flat, so particpants of all ages can join in, while more experienced runners like to face the 10K portion. During the 10K runners get to conquer “the wall” before heading back to the finish line.
“I try to come out here and do my best on the 5K, and I support everybody on the 10K,” added Pericic.
The winners of this year’s Chicken Run were:
- Tyler Daillak
- Brad Dunn
- Sean Sommerville
- Bella Tomasini
- Alexis Shohet
- Lila Colegrove
- Connor Fisher (Brynn and Brittni’s friend from Chico State)
- Brian Arndt
- Nicholas Puhek
- Nora Pizzella (Brittni’s roommate at Chico State)
- Clare Corbin (Brittni’s best friend from elementary school)
- Saskia Wright
Warren added that the Fun Run couldn’t happen without the help of the over 70 volunteers who pitched in to help out. Like years past, Kiwanis was there too to provide the runners with breakfast after they crossed the finish line.
“It’s really all the volunteers and all the people coming out to help that make it happen,” stated Warren.
In honor of Brittni and Brynn’s memory, the run also generates money for the foundation’s scholarship program, a program where they donate shoes to the local high schools, and overall helps build up the next generation of runners locally and at Chico State, where the girls attended college.
“We’ve been sustaining every year with our amounts. We’ve been doing so well that we’ve been able to increase our scholarship out here [locally]. We increased them [the running scholoarships] to $1,500 each this year,” said the girl’s mother, Sharilynn Frace.
The Frace family gives two running scholarships to graduating Paso Robles and Atascadero students every year, as well as scholarships at Chico State.
“Brynn and Brittni would just be so humbled by all the love and support,” added Sharilynn.
“They would have loved this event. They would have been all over it,” continued Warren.
In addition to the run itself, people were encouraged to sign a gratitude board, play a game of oversized Jenga, and paint a rock for the Hiya Rock Project, extending the joy and fun way past when the last runner crossed the finish line.
“This is kind of the highlight of the year for the family,” Warren said. “We really start working on this in July and we kind of build up toward it. It really celebrates the spirit of the girls and it brings everybody together. We have family, we have friends, you saw that the winners of the race were the girl’s friends from elemantary school, from college, it’s so inspiring for us.”
To find out more about the Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation or make a donation, head to run4bittiandbrynn.org.
Feature Image by Sam McMillan