07/28/12 10:00am
07/28/2012 10:00 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Swimmers begin the Mighty North Fork Triathlon earlier this month.

Riverhead will be the site of an Olympic-distance triathlon Sunday morning, the first of its kind for the town as part of Riverhead Appreciation Day, which begins Saturday.

Riverhead Project owner Dennis McDermott, the race’s organizer and a triathlete himself, said Wednesday the Business Improvement District approached him late last year to ask for help to get the event, which is being sponsored by Apple Honda,  off the ground.

“They said they’d tried to organize one that didn’t end up coming to fruition and wondered if I’d like to help resurrect it, which I did,” Mr. McDermott said, adding that the race’s most distinctive feature is it’s Main Street finish.

“The finish line is in front of the Suffolk Theater, which is interesting because most triathlons take place on a beach,” he said. “The swim is in the river, the transition where racers change out of their wet suits and get on their bikes is in the parking lot. Racers then go on a 22-mile bike ride and finish with a six-mile run that ends in front of the Suffolk Theater.”

[Click here for a map of the bike route]

[Click here for a map of the swim route]

Mr. McDermott said he was very excited about Sunday, but made special plans when it came to his only concern about the event.

“On the other side of the finish line there are a lot of vacant stores, so I arranged to have pop-up stores put in for that day, so people can see how that part of Main Street looks flush with open businesses,” he said, “The wine council, the North Fork Animal Welfare League and Vines and Branches will all take one, as will Bridgehampton National Bank, who donated money to help coordinate the effort.”

The race begins at 6:40 a.m. and online registration is currently sold out. There is a mandatory packet pick-up for the race between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday. More information for this event can be found at eventpowerli.com.

Saturday’s Riverhead Appreciation Day will also feature food, face-painting, pie-eating contest and more between 1 and 5 p.m. The Rock the River Concert will take place between 6 and 10 p.m.

gvolpe@timesreview.com