HARRISON — An Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School senior has raised funds for the local Parks and Recreation Department programs and brought smiles to the faces of dozens of young runners.

Miranda Murphy, a lifelong Harrison resident, developed and organized the Superhero Half-Mile Dash for children ages 2 to 10.

The 39 children from Harrison, Naples and the surrounding area who participated in the inaugural race came dressed in superhero outfits ranging from full, padded costumes to capes, masks, shorts and T-shirts, Murphy said.

Murphy decided to organize the race as her senior project because she had participated in local recreation programs for years under Director Paula Holt. She also helped organize the annual Harrison 5K race for the past five years when her mother was in charge of the event.

“I saw all of the kids that ran it and struggled to finish so I wanted to make something that would be easier for the kids, and so many more kids could participate,” she said.

The high school’s senior projects began in the late 1990s. About 2003 the staff at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School decided to do away with the portfolio part of the requirement and do senior projects, which are supervised and scored by a panel of teachers.

Murphy plans to study architecture with a minor in engineering.

The race was held July 9 and the money raised will go directly to children’s programs run by Holt.

“This race helped to introduce running at a young age and was a manageable length for the kids to feel successful,” Murphy said.

She said the first 25 registered superheroes received a superhero T-shirt printed by Bob the Screenprinter of Windham. After they completed their half-mile course, each child received a homemade superhero cookie and a small water bottle. All received a handcrafted medal and fruit.

Homemade reversible capes for the fastest male and female superhero in each age group were awarded. The winners had their pictures taken by race photographer and high school teacher Brewster Burns.

She said the event was successful in large part because of dozens of community members who helped, including Burns, who has posted a picture of each of the runners at www.brewstersphotos.com.

Murphy said other local sponsors from Harrison were Cape Monday Woodworks for handcrafting the superhero medals, Henry’s Concrete and Happi Chick Bakery for superhero-shaped cookies.

She also thanked the many non-Harrison sponsors, including Bob the Screenprinter, Brewster’s Photos, Best Tunes, Dr. Jill Gabrielsen from the Healthy For Life Wellness Center, Hannaford supermarket, Howell Laboratories Inc., Lloyd’s Toys, Mainely Agility, Poland Spring Water Co., Windham Millwork Inc. and Daelynn A. Elizabeth Architecture.

Volunteers included Julie, Jeffrey and McKinley Murphy; Paula Holt; Deborah Menezes; Cameron Shaw; Jade Morin; Savannah Morin; Gillian and Kathy McClellan; Di DiBaise; and Amy Peet.

“Without them, the race wouldn’t have been as successful as it was,” Murphy said.

Also participating were Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Murphy, who organized traffic control, and Al Lisowski, a town employee and Harrison Fire Department volunteer, who blocked off the starting area for the superheroes.

Murphy said Jo Surette of Harrison led off the dash in her red convertible superhero-mobile. She also noted the contributions of Ann Macro of Harrison for making a donation of ice and Jamie Hudson of Harrison for the superhero capes.

All the volunteers received a superhero T-shirt as a thank you, Murphy said.

“I hope there will be a superhero out there to keep the Dash going for years to come,” she said.

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Fastest Superheroes

Ages 2-3:

Fastest Superhero Boy: Landon Mayhan, 3, Naples, 6:37

Ages 4-5:

Fastest Superhero Girl: Cameron Mayhan, 5, Naples, 5:25

Fastest Superhero Boy: Ezra Tsapis, 5, Harrison, 5:37

Ages 6-7

Fastest Superhero Girl: Jane Leonard, 7, Harrison, 4:39

Fastest Superhero Boy: Miles Stafford, 6, Harrison, 4:30

Ages 8-10:

Fastest Superhero Girl: Quintessa DiBiase, 9, Harrison, 4:49

Fastest Superhero Boy: Mason Stafford, 9, Harrison, 4:20

Top Runners

Top Overall Female: Jane Leonard, 7, Harrison, 4:39

Top Overall Male: Mason Stafford, 9, Harrison, 4:20

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