Road Race Benefiting Petit Family Foundation

People laced up their sneakers for 5th Annual GE's 5k Road Race.


If there’s strength in numbers, then this community is bouncing back with every footfall. GE’s 5K Road Race to benefit the Petit Family Foundation saw its highest turnout in the five years since the race was established. Over 3,000 runners met together at the starting line Sunday morning.

“We figured it would be a nice local race but it turned out to be quite a community event. We’re very excited about this. We appreciate everyone helping out our friend Dr. Petit,” said organizer Bob Heslin.

Next week will mark the 5th anniversary of the brutal Cheshire home invasion that took the lives of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17 year old Hailey and 11 year old Michaela. Their father, Dr. William Petit, was on hand to kick-start the race. He said the large turnout proved there’s more good in the world than the evil he experienced firsthand.

“Generally, most people are good and most people want to do good things. So I think for a lot of people this is a way to reach out and do something for us, perhaps for me and my family but also for the community in general,” said Dr. Petit.

The road race is the biggest fundraiser for the Petit Family Foundation. So for many of these runners, crossing the finish line was more than a personal triumph. That was especially true for those who came from around the country to participate, like 74 year-old Joe Liechty.

“We heard about it for years back in Indiana over the news. It was just an honor to be part of the event,” said Liechty.

“It is very tough with what happened. It was tragic and you wouldn’t want that to happen to anybody,” added runner Jody Heslin.

NBC Connecticut was a proud sponsor of the race. Many here who donned numbers on their bibs and laced up their sneakers said they knew the Petit family in some way. Not only is was the race a way to honor the legacy of the three Petit women—it was also a way to help many heal.