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June 10, 2008

(New York, June 8, 2008) - Runners on more than 100 teams from 17 states, ranging from New York to Colorado, braved unseasonable heat as they raced more than 50 miles through Rockland and Westchester counties, NY Sunday, June 8, in the third annual Avon Foundation Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence. Due to the heat, the race was terminated early at the recommendation of local health authorities, but numerous teams were already in the final stretch of the 9-leg, 50-mile course, and many racers successfully crossed the finish line in New Rochelle, NY, just north of Manhattan. Ali Torre, wife of Joe Torre, former New York Yankees manager, now LA Dodgers manager, was among the participants, and was a runner on one of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation relay teams.

Thanks to voluntary fundraising by the runners, the Need for Speed Relay raised more than $224,000, with donations still coming in. To ensure the funds immediately benefit the community, during the awards ceremony the Avon Foundation presented grants to five local domestic violence organizations for programs focused on helping children affected by domestic violence, including the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation.

"The annual Need for Speed Relay allows runners to enjoy competition and camaraderie while raising funds and awareness to help end the cycle of domestic violence, which affects people of every age, race, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic level," explained Carol Kurzig, Executive Director of the Avon Foundation. "We are sorry the hot weather cut short the experience for some of the runners of the final legs of the relay. We appreciate the dedication of the hundreds of runners who took part in today's Relay and raised funds for the domestic violence cause. Statistics show one in three women worldwide is a victim of violence and some ten million children in the US witness domestic violence each year. We hope to help change that statistic."

Inspiring Teams and Race Results

The Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence included nine legs ranging in length from 2.9 to 9.3 miles, starting at Bear Mountain and running through Peekskill, Cortlandt, Croton, Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Mt. Pleasant, Sleepy Hollow, Greenburgh, White Plains, Scarsdale and into New Rochelle, NY. Participants included more than 100 teams of six to nine runners of every level of expertise, including some with a special commitment to ending violence, such as team "AAA" whose captain Senaida Lopez returned for her third year to run for the cause, and the "Cops on the Run" team whose members are from NYPD 40th precinct. The oldest runner was 76 and the youngest 16, and the participants were nearly evenly divided between men and women.

For a full list of results, visit www.needforspeedrelay.org. Top placing teams were:

  • First Place Overall and first Men's Division: New York Athletic Club (NYAC) Runners XY with a winning time of 6:32:29, led by team captain John Hricay.
  • First Place Co-Ed: NYMCKK Spartans with a winning time of 6:51:54, led by team captain Horoshi Kitada.
  • First Place Women's Division: Flash Posse with a winning time of 7:06:11, led by team captain Wayne Rubin.

Runners, family and friends enjoyed finish line festivities at New Roc City in New Rochelle, supported by official sponsors Bally Total Fitness, Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar, FIJI Water and the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences, along with volunteer sponsor G.H. Bass and Company.

Raising Funds and Helping End the Cycle of Domestic Violence

In addition to the competitive awards, top fundraising teams and individuals were given special recognition at the finish line festivities. Top fundraising teams were the Speedy Weejuns led by Christine Siegel, with a team total of $28,500, followed by Yoda's Harriers with $22,256 raised, led by captain Erik DaRosa. Thanks to their efforts, Carol Kurzig presented grants from the Avon Foundation to local domestic violence organizations to help children affected by domestic violence. Ali Torre accepted $75,000 on behalf of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation to help in the continued expansion of the "Margaret's Place" program at White Plains High School, which combats domestic and dating violence and is named for Joe Torre's mother, a victim of domestic violence. Grants of $50,000 each were awarded to programs at Northern Westchester Shelter, Safe Horizon, Sanctuary for Families and Shelter our Sisters to expand their programs focused on children.

Fundraising will continue through July 31, 2008.

Inaugural Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence National Relay Series

In addition to the New York "anchor" event, the Avon Foundation has also expanded its efforts to end the cycle of domestic violence with the Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence National Relay Series. The Series raises lifesaving funds and awareness to help children and families affected by domestic violence through partnerships with seven relay races coast-to-coast throughout the year, offering participants the opportunity to raise funds for the important cause of domestic violence. Runners can learn more or sign up to become a Need for Speed fundraiser at www.needforspeedrelay.org/series.

About the Avon Foundation and Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

The Avon Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women, and today focuses on breast cancer and domestic violence. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade supports access to care and finding a cure, with the best known event the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative was launched in 2004 and focuses on education, prevention and direct service programs, with fundraising through product sales and events such as the Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence. In just three years funds were awarded to nearly 400 domestic violence organizations and programs. Through 2007 Avon philanthropic programs in 50 countries have raised and awarded a total of more than $580 million worldwide. Free downloadable domestic violence educational literature, as well as more information on the Avon Foundation, is available at www.avonfoundation.org. For information on the Need for Speed Relay visit www.needforspeedrelay.org.