24-hour endurance race kicks off in downtown Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Chris Cuddihy of Riverside leads a group of about 50 runners at the start of the Riverfront 24 Saturday afternoon.

At 2 p.m. this afternoon, Chris Cuddihy led a group of about 50 runners and walkers, even a unicyclist, to the start of the Riverfront 24, an annual 24-hour endurance running event to raise money for the Suffolk County United Veterans.

The group took off on the downtown Riverhead riverfront loop for a day-long journey that will include 12 different challenges, including pushups, lunges, squats and weighted sandbag sprint. They’ll spend the final 12 hours doing the same challenges in reverse order.

The event was originally scheduled for Veterans Day, but was delayed because of superstorm Sandy. The Suffolk County United Veterans is a nonprofit that runs a shelter for homeless veterans in Yaphank and provides a number of other services for veterans countywide.

Debra Beattie of Deer Park added the challenges this year in memory of Army Specialist James Lundin of Bellport, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Bagdhad in 2007. The challenges, which also include a 1/2 mile skipping or lunges for the participants at the start of each hour, is meant to keep the run/walk more interesting.

Ms. Beattie got involved this year because of an internship she’s doing with the United Veterans for her Master’s degree in social work at SUNY Stony Brook. At the start of the run she said, “I truly believe our veterans deserve the opportunity to have a home, jobs, housing and other services that they need.”

This year’s event is being limited to the riverfront parking lot; runners will not run on Main Street, as they did in prior years.

Cars will still be able to park behind Main Street stores by entering the lot via the unnamed street by the Riverhead Diner and exiting on Peconic Avenue, Mr. Cuddihy said.

There also will be a veteran’s car show on Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with live bands playing in the parking lot.

“What we really want is for people to come down, enjoy the music, enjoy the car show and walk a lap and donate to Suffolk County United Veterans,” Mr. Cuddihy said.

People can also donate directly through Suffolk County United Veterans’ website,, or by donating cash or checks at this weekend’s event, he said.