By KEVIN ROBERTS
Nearly 570 runners entered to run in the Chip’s Family Restaurant 5K Road Race on a hot afternoon in downtown Plainville this past Sunday. It was a tough day to run, but that didn’t stop those who came out to show their support for Dr. William Petit Jr. and the Petit Family Foundation.
“I think you guys represent all of the good things in America,” Petit said before the race. “Kindness, it’s a hot day, you could have sat at home, you could have been in the AC, but you chose to come out here and support us. You’re hopeful because you all want a better future for our kids, and you persevere, we’re all going to have to persevere.”
All proceeds from the race go to the Petit Family Foundation, which honors the legacy of Jennifer Hawke Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit. Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela were killed in a 2007 home invasion. Money from the Petit Family Foundation goes toward grants for the education of young people, especially women, in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses; and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence, according to the race website.
“It may not be the best day for a personal best, but really, thank you to all of you for being here,” Petit said. “With your help, we’ve now done about $3.5 million in grants locally and regionally, thanks to your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and everybody have a great run.”
Before the road race began, a Kids’ Fun Run was held. The fun run was won by Petit’s son, William Petit III. The 5K road race was won by Palmer Weimann, 22, of Farmington. Weimann, a former cross country runner for Marist College, finished first in 16:44.
Plainville’s top finisher was Cory Loftis, 29, who placed third in 17:47. He was followed by two other Plainville runners in fourth and fifth place. Those runners were Peyton Ramsey, 15, and Ryan Aley, 24. Ramsey ran the race in 17:58 while Aley crossed the line in 18:06.
The first female finisher was Brittany Telke, 30, of Bristol, who crossed the line in 18:58. Telke was also the top Bristol finisher in the race.
Southington’s top run came from incoming high school junior Kevin Le, 16, who finished 14th in 19:51.
“This is a terrific event, I’ve done it several times, and I really enjoy it,” said new Plainville superintendent Steve LePage. “It’s special to me because I’ve gotten to know the Petit family, many members of the Petit family really well over the years. They’re a terrific family, and they stand for everything that’s good about perseverance, dedication and commitment to values bigger than themselves, to make the world a better place, and to being the change.”
LePage, a resident of nearby Wolcott, lauded the efforts of Plainville High principal Carl Johnson, along with athletic director Chris Farrell.
“He arranged for about 70 student-athlete volunteers today, and six coaches to help out, so we really appreciate his efforts on behalf of this race,” LePage said.
LePage ran the race and finished 107th in 26:24. Race committee members could be spotted in their orange shirts, and the volunteers wore yellow shirts. Race co-director Bob Heslin commended the committee members and volunteers for their efforts. Bob and his brother Gary, high school friends of Petit, helped start the event.
“We started this 12 years ago and still get great, great support,” Heslin said.
Chip’s served up pancakes before and after the race. There were plenty of food and drinks, including water, being offered by various vendors in front of the high school.
Road Race winners
Palmer Weimann (16:44) beat Chris Chisholm (17:36) and Cory Loftis (17:47) to win the men’s title.
Division winners for the men were Chase McNamara (12 and under); Peyton Ramsey (ages 13-19); Cory Loftis (ages 20-29); Matthew Grice (ages 30-39); William Liebler (ages 40-49); Chris Chisholm (ages 50-59); Steve Finton (ages 60-69); David Tellerico (ages 70-79); and James Driscoll (80 and over).
Brittany Telke (18:58) beat Maria Ricalton (19:21) and Madeline Sturm (20:30) to win the women’s title.
Division winners for the women were Gianna Rodriguez (12 and under); Andrea Moyano (ages 13-19); Maria Ricalton (ages 20-29); Meghan Roscoe (ages 30-39); Salena Chatman (ages 40-49); Judy Jendrucek (ages 50-59); Cathy Downing (ages 60-69); and Linda Rocco (70 and over).
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com