The Chicken Run returned to Lake Santa Margarita after a virtual run last year

SANTA MARGARITA — Close to 300 runners and walkers showed up for the 4th annual Running Chicken 10k and 5k to celebrate the lives of “Bitti” and Brynn Frace on Sunday Jan. 2. The Chicken Run returned to Lake Santa Margarita after a virtual run last year.

“When we lost them [Brittni and Brynn], we wanted to do something to remember them by, so we created the foundation [Run4BittiandBrynn Foundation] and this run, basically to perpetuate their spirit and memory,” said the girl’s father, Warren Frace. “I think this run really reflects who they were and what they loved. They loved being outdoors; they loved running; they just loved community.”

The Chicken Run started and ended at Wide Oak Flat, with an option for participants who like to take it easy with a 5k loop that goes to the marina and circles back to the starting line. More serious runners were able to tackle “The Wall” in the 10k version of the run.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

“What’s nice about [The Chicken Run] is that the 5k you can walk it if you’re a grandma no problem, but if you’re a serious runner from Chico State, you can challenge yourself on The Wall. So, it works for everybody,” said Frace.

Awards were given out to the top 6 (3 female/3 male) run-times in both the 5k and 10k categories. The winners included local high school runners and even some runners from Chico State, where the girls attended college. 

The 5k female winners were: Marian Boche (3), Mattea Kalpakoff (2), Frances Perry (1). The 5k male winners were: Oscar Allen (3), Greg Jameson (2), Axel Reich (1).

The 10k female winners were: Miranda Daschian (3), Charlotte Castelli (2), Nora Pizzella (1). The 10k male winners were: Max Stapel-Kalat (3), Connor Fisher (2), Matthew Herrera (1).

Nora Pizzella wore Brynn’s number, while Matthew Herrera sported “Bitti’s” number as they ran. 

“Brynn and Brittni were both roommates with Norah for multiple years. And then Matt was in the dorms across the hall from them. So Norah, Matt, Brittni, Brynn, they were super super close and tight,” added Frace. “The whole Chico team, they all come back every year to help out.”

The money raised by the $45 entrance fee (which included a swag bag featuring items with art inspired by original works from “Britti” and Brynn) for The Chicken Run goes to help the Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation provide money for local scholarships.

“We use the money here to fund scholarships at both Atascadero High School and at Paso [High School], and up at Chico [State]. And then we do a shoe giveaway program for [young] athletes in need that can’t afford good shoes for whatever their sport is,” commented Frace.

The Chicken Run concluded with a pancake breakfast put on by the Kiwanis of Atascadero and Paso Robles. 

“We really want to thank the community for all their support. We have a huge group of volunteers. We have a key organizing committee that spends all year getting ready for this. And then we have a lot of community volunteers who just come out for the day to help us. And it’s really that whole team/community effort that makes this happen. That’s why it’s such a great thing,” Frace said of the local communities support of the event.

To find out more about the Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation or make a donation, head to: run4bittiandbrynn.org