GREENFIELD – Licking a green lollipop and sporting a bright blue cape, 2-year-old Harrison Simmons looked every bit the pint-size superhero at the Superhero 5K held in downtown Greenfield on Saturday, June 15.

The annual event is hosted by Hancock4Kids, a local nonprofit dedicated to strengthening and supporting families.

“Our mission is to ensure every child feels cherished and nurtured in a safe and healthy environment,” said Diane Burklow, who co-founded Hancock 4 Kids alongside Mikel Theobald.

Ellie Gard, 2, checks out the fountain after the kids’ races at the Hancock4kids 5K. Rob Baker/Daily Reporter

Harrison’s mom – Nicole Simmons of Greenfield – said the Saturday morning event was a great opportunity to do something fun downtown as a family.

Her husband Mitchell ran the 5K with their 5-year-old daughter, Emmy, while Harrison stuck to the 50-meter Kids’ Dash.

With medals hanging around their necks, the kids watched as participants crossed the finish line to a great deal of fanfare provided by the Mt. Vernon High School cheer squad.

Batman was also at the finish line calling out the names of runners and walkers as they completed the race as the theme from “Superman” blared from the speakers.

Kids and parents both donned superhero capes provided by Hancock4Kids.

Theobald, who has co-chaired the Superhero 5K since its inception in 2015, was sporting her traditional Wonder Woman costume.

“This is way out of my comfort zone, but I wear it here every year. It’s for a good cause,” she said with a grin.

Her husband just happens to be Batman.

Greenfield Mayor Guy Titus poses with some of the Superheroes to help cheer on the runners at the Hancock4Kids 5K run. Rob Baker/Daily Reporter

Theobald and Burklow said the Superhero 5K was created to give families something fun to do while promoting the importance of strengthening families and supporting kids.

Sisters Brandy Profancik of Greenfield and Jessica Hinton of Broad Ripple brought a collective seven kids and five adults to Saturday’s event.

“We like looking for 5Ks to do in the community and thought this sounded like fun,” said Profancik, as her 10-month-old nephew Raymond – dressed as a miniature Batman – played in the grass of the Hancock County Courthouse lawn.

“This is his first 5K,” quipped Hinton, his mom.

It likely wouldn’t be his last, as the family plans to continue taking part in 5Ks throughout the community.

“It’s a good excuse to get the kids outside and do something fun as a family,” said Profancik.

“Plus my mom bribes us with breakfast, so she’s at home making that right now,” she said.

The Mt. Vernon Cheerleaders and a group from the Stars Wars of Indiana pose for a picture in front of the finish line while waiting on the runners to return during the Hancock4kids 5K run. Rob Baker/Daily Reporter

This marks the eighth year for the Superhero 5K, which took a break in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID.

Burklow said 70 people registered for this year’s event, which featured information booths, a coloring table and lawn games on Courthouse Plaza.

Kids got to check out a firetruck up close before the race began.

A new 50-meter race was added this year – the Hero Dash – which invited local first responders to compete.

Conor Wilcher, 5, and Lt. Jackson of the Greenfield Police department show off their awards for winning their race at the Hancock4kids 5k race. Rob Baker/Daily Reporter

A Greenfield police officer beat out a Greenfield fireman this year, “but in his defense the fireman ran it in full gear,” said Theobald.

Burklow said inviting first responders to the event is a great way to make children comfortable around them.

“We want them to feel familiar with them if they’re ever in a traumatic situation,” she said.

First responders and other heroes were granted free registration in this year’s Superhero 5K, including law enforcement, EMS, firefighters, military, healthcare workers and educators.

“We wanted to show them our appreciation,” Theobald said.

In addition to the 5K, Hancock4Kids hosts a number of other community-minded events throughout the year.

On May 1 the nonprofit hosted a community forum for adults which covered how to talk to children about body safety and how to respond if child sexual abuse is disclosed.

The medals that all runners get after finishing the Hancock4Kids 5K run. Rob Baker/Daily Reporter

On July 10 the nonprofit will host “Stewards of Children, Darkness to Light Child,” a sexual abuse prevention training held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. July 10 at NineStar Connect in Greenfield.

The training will be led by Aimee Herring, Hancock County’s chief deputy prosecutor. Training is free but registration is required.

Hancock4Kids will also host its annual Summer Series Back-to-School Kickoff from 6-7:30 p.m. July 24 at the Riley Park Pavilion. Activities and the backpack giveaway are free but registration is required.

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