SANTA MARGARITA — The second annual Brynn and Brittni Frace Memorial Chicken Run was filled with spirit and community as 420 registered runners took to foot for 10K, 5K, and a shorter fun walk/run. The races wound through the hills around Santa Margarita Lake on Sunday, Jan. 5, to celebrate the spirit and love of running that Brynn and “Bitti” shared during their lives.

“Today is a celebration of who they were and the joyfulness they brought to everybody,” said coach Roger Warnes, “and the togetherness they really fostered among their teammates and everybody who was around them or with them.”

Brynn and Brittni were more than running enthusiasts — they were life enthusiasts. The light they carried with them wherever they went continues to shine through the Chicken Run event that carries their namesake.

Carrying the candle for their spirit, Brynn and Bitti’s parents Shari and Warren Frace took a family tragedy and turned it into a triumph.

Several hundred people showed up, not just to run or walk, but to fellowship, share, and enjoy Brynn and Bitti’s joy. At 9 a.m., a flock of hundreds of runners charged off the starting line after coach Warnes signal and followed Keith Schmidt, who led the course on bike.

After the Chicken Run, runners and attendees were served breakfast by the Kiwanis, along with Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin assisting the grill.

“It takes an entire village of people, and I’m already starting to think about next year,” Shari Frace said. “We have a group of talents who come together to plan it.”

With all the work involved in the event, which takes all year to put together, it was not without a payoff for those who put in the hours.

“I’m still flying off the happy high,” Shari said. “It was so emotional to me. Everyone knows what they have to do to get the event going, I just had to stop and appreciate the moment. I could hear the girls reminding us to take time to realize the beauty around us.”

The event is more than just a chance to catch a runner’s high, but a chance to reflect and appreciate the people and nature around each other.

“I find that people are refocusing and see everything a little brighter and seeing the beauty around them,” Shari said. “They send me a little note, with a rainbow or a ‘Hiya’ or ‘eyes wide open.’ It’s really cool pushing the community and connectivity of it. [Brynn and Brittni] taught us to live and appreciate life around us.”

The Chicken Run fundraiser provides scholarships to student-athletes in the cross country, track and field sports at Paso Robles and Atascadero high schools, and Chico State, and hopefully a bigger meaning.

“It’s a reminder to live life to the fullest through kindness and happiness,” Shari said.

Getting through this together, Atascadero