From one of Connecticut's darkest moments has come a very bright annual event.
About 5,000 runners came to Plainville Sunday morning for the seventh annual GE 5K Road Race to benefit the Petit Family Foundation.
The annual race launched just one year after Dr. William Petit lost his family in what has come to be known as the Cheshire home invasion.
"It's made the community, regionally, statewide and a number of people from out of state, really a part of the Petit Family Foundation," Petit said. "We can't do it without the help of everybody."
Proceeds support the Petit Family Foundation, which in turn funds a number of efforts. Petit started the foundation to honor Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit "by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives," according to the race website.
"Most of the causes supported here are for the sciences of women, abuse of women. Billy does a great job with that, with the board, in giving out grants and things of that nature. He does a lot of things throughout Connecticut," Bob Heslin, Petit 5K race director, said. "This year I know that they're giving out a lot of money towards those types of items, and it's a good thing to do."
The race and fitness walk stepped off at 9 a.m. on Woodford Avenue this morning, off of Route 10, and was preceded by a fun run for kids.
Petit estimated that the event brought in about $120,000, similar to last year, bringing the total raised during seven years of the race to just shy of $1 million.
"We're not even two years removed from Sandy Hook, a year and a half, and everybody with goodness in their heart really wants to do something to reach out to help and I think that's just sort of an innate response that most of us have."
NBC Connecticut is the presenting sponsor of the event.