Fifth annual GE/Petit race draws record crowd

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 7:00 am

Nick Carroll | 0 comments


The fifth annual General Electric 5K Road Race benefitting the Petit Family Foundation, held Sunday in Plainville, had a different feel than did the previous four installments; a more celebratory, lighter feel.

Perhaps it was that the two men responsible for the deaths of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit now sit on death row.

Or it may be that Dr. William Petit, the lone survivor of the Cheshire home invasion, has found love again, and is engaged to be married.

For whatever reason, the vibe surrounding the 2012 GE/Petit race was a joyous one, and Dr. Petit had a spring in his step.

Addressing the more than 3,000 runners and walkers before they set out on the 3.1-mile challenge July 15, Dr. Petit said: “I really just want to thank everyone for being here today. This is the biggest crowd ever. I want to let you know that you’re all part of the foundation, just by being here. You showed up to support the community and your fellow man.”

One of Plainville’s favorite sons, the New England Patriots’ Niko Koutouvides also spoke to the participants.

“Long distance isn’t my thing. I’m usually short and sweet,” the two-time Super Bowl participant said, to laughs. “But today I’m going to give it a go. I don’t know when I’m going to finish, but for all the runners; I’ll see you at the finish line.”

New London’s Stephen Pretak bested the field that hazy morning. He navigated the course in a record time of 15:27, out-doing the runner-up, Terryville’s Nico Greco, by six seconds. Jon Krell of Farmington rounded out the top three (15:56).

Andrew Rottier was the first Plainville resident to finish. The PHS student was 11th with a time of 16:52.

Complete race results are posted at .

Terry Putaski of Bristol has run the GE/Petit 5K every year. He said one thing brings him back: Dr. Petit.

“It’s a tragic event that happened to him, and in a small way I wanted to show support every year, to let him know that he’s not forgotten,” Putaski said, adding: “I’m very happy that he has found somebody. It looks like they’re going to get married this year, and I’ll tell you, I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Sara Dill, of Glastonbury echoed that.

“Good for him,” said Dill, who at seven months pregnant, walked the course. “There comes a point when you do have to move on. With an event like this, he’s always going to remember, but he needs to be happy.”

Dill’s husband, Steve, ran the 5K.

“It’s really encouraging to see everyone get together to support the cause,” he said. “It was touching a few years ago to see the event put together.”

Ken Oberhausen of Avon has volunteered at the 5K since its inception. He mans a tent where water, orange juice and bananas are distributed.

“It’s a great cause for a great family,” said Oberhausen, a GE employee. “Since its inaugural year it has really grown to be one of the best races in the area. It brings out a lot of the community, and beyond the community as well.”

All proceeds from the GE/Petit race go to the Petit Family Foundation, which honors the memories of the Petit women by benefiting causes close to their heart.

“July 23 will be the fifth anniversary of a very tragic event when we lost Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela,” Dr. Petit said in his pre-race comments. “I know they’re looking down upon you and thankful for everything you all do.”