Big crowds race in Petit Family Foundation 5K - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Big crowds race in Petit Family Foundation 5K

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More than 1,000 runners ran in the Petit Family 5K on Sunday. (WFSB) More than 1,000 runners ran in the Petit Family 5K on Sunday. (WFSB)

To run on a day so hot, great motivation is needed and more than 1,000 runners in Plainville had such drive.

They braved the blistering black top to support the Petit Family Foundation, which is the organization that honors victims of the 2007 Cheshire home invasion.

Few would sprint to the finish, for some it was a slow saunter across the line. Each runner feeling the blistering sun every step of the Petit Family 5K.

“The heat was pretty tough I'm not going to lie,” runner Fred Wills, of Cheshire, said.

Runner Deborah Kempton, of Plainville, said the first reason to pull through it all.

 “My goal is always to improve my time,” she said.

But for many, the time is a lot less important than the reason they're running.

They think back to the horrific 2007 Cheshire home invasion, one that tore the Petit family with the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters Michaela and Hayley.

“The story is that it can happen to anyone so you just have to live each day like it’s your last one and that’s what I try to do every day running,” Wils said.

Runners have helped the Petit Family Foundation raise more than $1 million toward funding education programs, those affected by violence and people with chronic illnesses.

“It’s very personal,” Dr. William Petit said. “We've had a lot of connections with the community from Cheshire, Plainville throughout the state. So a lot of people do come out for Jennifer, for Hayley, for Michaela.”

It’s not just the runners who feel connected to the petit family, William Petit said the race has only heightened his connection to everyone here.

“Oh yea, very much some people I reconnect with at the race,” he said. “Every year that's when I see them.”

Petit said the foundation expects to raise about $135,000 from Sunday’s race.

For more information on the Petit Family Foundation, click here. 

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