GE 5K's total raised for Petit Foundation reaches $1M


Monday, July 14, 2014 8:59 AM EDT




PLAINVILLE — Thanks in part to Sunday’s 1,800 or so participants, the GE 5K Road Race hit the $1 million mark in total funds raised over the last seven years, all going to the Petit Family Foundation.


Young and old walked and ran in honor of Plainville native Dr. William Petit Jr. and his foundation, which supports the education of young women in the sciences, those living with chronic illness and those affected by violence, in memory of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and Hayley and Michaela Petit.


Simsbury resident Mark Hixson was the top male finisher in a time of 16 minutes, 6 seconds, while Emily D’Addario, last year’s female winner, won again this year, at 18:16. She lives in Boston.


Local runners did well, too, with Plainville’s own Ryan Acey, 19, taking fifth overall. Anna Petit-Chapman, Petit’s sister, also ran.

“It’s good to be out here and to feel the energy in this community that just keeps giving and giving,” Petit-Chapman said after the race.


This year alone, the foundation has funded 33 programs and projects across the state, including the Klingberg Family Centers and Prudence Crandall Center in New Britain, the Parent & Child Center at Bristol Hospital and Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center in Bristol.


But the number of grant requests coming in has tripled in recent years, making it difficult to give to all those in need.


“From 2008 to 2012, we were able to fund between 80 and 90 percent of applications coming in from mission-aligned groups, but recently, the demand has been huge,” said Petit, who was joined at Sunday’s race by his wife Christine and their seven-month-old son William.


“Little Bill,” as he is fondly called by family and friends, won the last raffle prize of the day — a $100 gift certificate to Dairy Queen in Plainville.


“Who’s going to be eating all that ice cream, Bill?” race director Bob Heslin joked while handing out a MacBook Pro, a television and a $500 gas card, some of the raffle prizes donated by Stanley Black & Decker, General Electric and other sponsors.


“It’s nice to see the same old faces and have the same sponsors supporting us all these years,” Heslin added. “This has become one of the biggest 5Ks in this area, so we’re happy about that.”


Some of Hayley and Michaela’s former classmates and friends participated, including 10 recent graduates of Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury who were in Michaela’s class.


“It’s really amazing how big this has gotten,” Mark Albini, one of them, pointed out.


“It’s really impressive and definitely makes you proud of this community,” added another, Alexa Elmy.


Salisbury resident Rita Delgado hugged Petit after the race. Both recalled cheering for their daughters at basketball games at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington.


“My daughter Amanda graduated with Hayley. They were co-captains of the basketball team,” she explained. “This is a beautiful family and a beautiful event. We would never miss it.”


The Petit Family Foundation’s next fundraising event is The Ride for Justice on Sunday, Sept. 28, starting at St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol.


To see a complete list of race winners, visit


Erica Schmitt can be reached at


(860) 225-4601, ext. 210, or