SOURCE: Avon Foundation

June 12, 2006 17:59 ET

Inaugural Avon Foundation Need for Speed: Relay Against Domestic Violence Takes Westchester by Storm; Grant Awarded for New Program at White Plains High School

Nearly 100 Relay Teams Raised Funds and Awareness for Children Affected by Domestic Violence; Runners Include Ali Torre, wife of Honorary Team Captain Joe Torre

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 12, 2006 -- Nearly 100 teams of runners from 16 states raced 60 miles through Westchester County, NY yesterday in the first-ever Avon Foundation Need for Speed: Relay Against Domestic Violence, a competitive race from Bear Mountain to New Rochelle. Honorary Team Captain was Joe Torre, Manager of the New York Yankees, whose mother was a victim of domestic violence. While Joe led the Yankees in Sunday's game, his wife, Ali, was a runner on the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation relay team.

Tied as the overall winners were two all-men's teams that both completed the course in just under 7 hours: the Wall Street Runners and the Front Runners A. The first-place all-women's team was the Taconic Women with a time of 7 hours 55 minutes, and the first co-ed team to cross the finish line was the Hellgate team that finished in 7 hours 29 minutes.

The Need for Speed Relay covered a 60-mile, nine-leg course from Bear Mountain to New Rochelle, with legs of four to eleven miles. Nearly 100 teams of six to nine runners of every level of expertise took part, representing 16 states from Maine to Colorado, which was represented by the team Fat Boy and the Sweaty Socks, led by husband and wife runners from Denver. Teams included independent groups as well as many from corporations and organizations such as Goldman Sachs (the Audit Trailblazers team), Avon (Not Just Lipstick team and Team Avon U.S.) and the New York Athletic Club. Event sponsor Bally's provided warm-ups before the race and trainers at "Exchange Areas" along the relay route, which were manned by hardworking volunteers.

"The runners in our first-ever Need for Speed Relay were part of a groundbreaking event that will help end the cycle of domestic violence," stated Carol Kurzig, Executive Director, Avon Foundation. "The Avon Foundation has been committed to improving the lives of women and families since 1955, and we are grateful to every runner for taking steps to help children affected by domestic violence."

Helping End the Cycle of Domestic Violence

At the awards ceremony, Kurzig presented Ali Torre with a check for $75,000 for the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation. The funds will establish a "Margaret's Place" in White Plains High School, the fourth such program in the metro area. "Margaret's Place" is a unique program, named for Joe Torre's mother, that helps middle and high school students deal with domestic and teen dating violence by providing a designated safe place in their school, with counseling, education and peer leadership. As Joe Torre has stated, "the impact of the domestic violence I experienced while growing up has been with me my entire life, and we need to do all we can to raise funds and awareness to help break this vicious cycle and let all our kids feel safe at home."

Domestic violence knows no boundaries. It affects one in three women worldwide, and a woman is assaulted or beaten in the U.S. every nine seconds. While most victims are women, men can be victims, too, as are children: studies suggest 10 million American children witness domestic violence each year, and 40% of girls age 14-17 know someone who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.

Celebration and Education at the Finish-Line Festivities

The Need for Speed Relay will help change these statistics. The event culminated in "New Roc City" in downtown New Rochelle, NY with a finish-line festival complete with music, refreshments and awards for the top teams, with special emcee Maria Milito of Q104.3 radio. An information area to support domestic violence education and awareness was hosted by representatives from domestic violence organizations in the tri-state area, all of which have received past funding from the Avon Foundation.

Event Partners

The Avon Foundation Need for Speed: Relay Against Domestic Violence is generously supported by: Official Water FIJI; Event Partners: Bally Total Fitness, Buffalo Wild Wings and Marriott Residence Inn New Rochelle; and Media Partner Q104.3.

About the Avon Foundation

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 for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved. The "Speak Out Against Domestic Violence" initiative focuses on education, prevention and direct service programs, with fundraising through product sales and events such as the new Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence. Through 2005, Avon philanthropic programs in 50 countries have raised and awarded more than $450 million worldwide. For Avon Foundation information and free printable breast cancer and domestic violence literature visit www.avonfoundation.org.

About the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation

Joe Torre's personal commitment to the issue of domestic violence stems from the fear he lived with growing up as a child in Brooklyn. Spurred by the abuse he witnessed and endured, Torre and his wife, Ali, founded the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation in 2002 -- in memory of Joe's mother, Margaret. The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that all children have an opportunity to grow up in a safe and abuse-free environment. Its goal is to raise awareness and to develop educational programs aimed at ending the cycle of domestic violence and saving lives. For additional information on the Foundation, please visit www.joetorre.org.

Editors' Note: Photos are available via the Associated Press Photo Network and on the Internet at Feature Photo Service's link through http://www.newscom.com

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