Thousands turn out for road race

Updated: Sunday, 15 Jul 2012, 6:37 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 15 Jul 2012, 2:54 PM EDT

Kent Pierce


PLAINVILLE, Conn. (WTNH) -- The GE Road Race has turned into one of the area's greatest events and it raises money for a foundation that came about because of one of the area's most awful crimes. 

"People can reach out by entering a road race, coming to a community event and help others," said Dr. William Petit. 

Dr. Petit was the sole survivor of the terrible Cheshire home invasion five years ago. His plan with the Petit Family Foundation was to continue the work that Hayley and Michaela Petit started while they were still alive, raising money to fight multiple sclerosis. It's the disease their mother Jennifer Hawke-Petit had. 

Proceeds from the GE Road Race goes towards the foundation. 

More than 2,000 people participated in the 5K race Sunday morning. 

"It's for a great cause," said Wendy Grasso, "it's local and I wanted to and I'm psyched to run it." 

"It's my second," said Laura Summers. "I did it a few years ago." 

The Petit Foundation has actually been branching out. This year it issued its first ever signature grant, a six figure check to build a medical facility at a non profit summer camp for kids, and that's just the beginning. 

"And we've made a nice grant this year to the Connecticut Science Center and New Britain High School for their science, technology, engineering, mathematics program. They have two academies there," Dr. Petit said. 

Just this year, the foundation gave away more than a quarter million dollars to 30 different groups. 

Which means no matter who wins the race, there are going to be many more winners thanks to all the money raised.

To learn more about the Petit Family Foundation or to make a donation, visit