Running for vets, fourth Riverfront 24 finishes

05/18/2014 6:00 AM |
And they're off! Runners and walkers begin the fourth annual Riverfront 24, which raises money to help local veterans organizations. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

And they’re off! Runners and walkers begin the fourth annual Riverfront 24, which raises money to help local veterans organizations. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Runners and walkers are circling a half-mile loop of the riverfront parking lot around the clock. And it’s not because they’re lost.

Their efforts are part of an event to help veterans in need this weekend.

The “Riverfront 24,” as it’s called, was started by Riverside resident Chris Cuddihy, who initially ran it by himself, but in subsequent years invited others to participate as well.

The event, now in its fourth year, started at noon on Saturday and will end at noon today, as teams of runners or walkers — or even individual runners and walkers — do as many laps as they can.

The participants pay a $50 entry fee for solo runners or walkers and teams pay a one-time fee of $25 with each team member paying a $10 donation fee.

The money raised benefits Suffolk County Homefront, a Ridge-based non-profit organization that helps veterans in need.

“We specifically focus on Suffolk County residents who are veterans,” said president and founder Cyndy Dickson. “We will provide with any type of support within our means, whether it be financial or otherwise. We’re not a large group, but we’ve never had to turn anybody down since we were founded in 2007.”

Ms. Dickson said she knows Mr. Cuddihy through their mutual interest in helping veterans. The 60-year Mr. Cuddihy has organized and participated in a number of endurance events to help veterans’ organizations and other charities. Some of his past endurance feats include rowing around Long Island, running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents, and running/biking from New York to Washington, D.C.

Ms. Dickson said she and Mr. Cuddihy recently were among a group of volunteers that helped build a ramp and deck on a Vietnam veteran’s North Sea’s house to make it handicapped accessible.

Mr. Cuddihy said Riverfront 24 also will benefit Riverhead-based Suffolk County United Veterans, which operates a shelter in Yaphank for homeless veterans.

SCUV was the primary beneficiary of the first three Riverwalk 24 events.

Between the runners who are attempting to do the full 24 hours and those seeking to do only part, more than 100 participants are expected, according to Mr. Cuddihy’s son, Ryan, who also is participating.