Plainville gearing up for annual GE road race for the Petit foundation

June 27, 2016

By Ashley Kus The Plainville Citizen

PLAINVILLE- The community will run and walk through Plainville next month for the ninth annual GE 5k road race.

“It’s a great course, it’s flat and there’s lots of activities,” said Bob Heslin, co-director of the race.

From this section: Gaudette scholarship awarded Heslin and his brother Gary first thought of the road race nine years ago after hearing Dr. William Petit’s eulogy for his daughters Haley and Michaela and his wife Jennifer Hawke-Petit who were killed in a home invasion.

“We left there wanting to help,” Heslin said.

Heslin was classmates with Petit as part of the PHS class of 1974 and wanted to assist in spreading his messages of helping neighbors and fighting for a cause. ‘Be the Change’ is the theme of the race and goes hand-in-hand with the mission of the Petit Family Foundation.

“It shows that people want to support the legacy of Haley, Jennifer, and Michaela,” Petit said.

He says runners have come from 48 of the 50 states in the last eight years. In that same time frame, over $1 million has been raised which the Foundation has used to give out grants and scholarships.

“We couldn’t do the things we do without this participation,” he said.

Recently, four Plainville students were awarded the Foundation’s community service scholarship.

“We promote that there’s a lot of good in the world and good people,” Heslin said.

The race has expanded in the past few years as more than 1400 people run and walk the course which begins at 41 Woodford Avenue, Route 10.

“We would love to get 1500 to 2000 [racers] this year,” Petit said.

The community can enjoy a pre-race pasta dinner the night before followed by plenty of activities like carnival games, face painting, and door prizes.

On race day, a variety of food vendors greet participants after they cross the finish line. Consistent vendors include; Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queens, and YoCrunch out of Naugatuck.

“It brings people to Plainville for a good cause,” Town Manager Robert E. Lee said, “and we’re happy GE sponsors it.”

Petit encourages people to come out to enjoy the morning even if they are not racing.

“Even just to cheer people on,” he said.

People can still register for the race online until noon on Friday, July 15. They can also register at the downtown office Saturday, July 16, noon until 4 p.m., and the day of the race Sunday, July 17.

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