SOURCE: Avon Foundation

June 11, 2007 08:10 ET

More Than 130 Teams of Runners From 20 States Raised Nearly $250,000 to Help Children Affected by Domestic Violence in the Second Annual Avon Foundation Need for Speed Relay

Over 1,000 Runners Participated, Including Ali Torre, Wife of Honorary Team Captain Joe Torre

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - June 11, 2007) - Runners on 130 teams from over 20 states, from California to New Hampshire, raced 50 miles through Rockland and Westchester counties, NY on Sunday, June 10 in the second annual Avon Foundation Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence. The more than 1,000 women and men enjoyed perfect weather as they completed the nine-leg, 50-mile competitive team relay race from Bear Mountain State Park to New Rochelle, NY. Honorary Team Captain was Joe Torre, Manager of the New York Yankees, whose mother, Margaret, was a victim of domestic violence, and Joe's wife, Ali, 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 nearly $250,000 that will be awarded by the Avon Foundation to domestic violence organizations, including the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, which received $75,000 during Sunday's awards ceremony. The need is great: one in three women worldwide is a victim of violence, and some ten million children in the US witness domestic violence each year.

"I thank everyone who supported the Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence," stated Joe Torre. "The impact of the domestic violence I experienced while growing up has been with me my entire life, and we need to raise funds and awareness to help break this vicious cycle and let all our kids feel safe at home."

Inspiring Teams

The overall winner was the co-ed team "Hellgate," followed by "Wall Street Runners" in second and "NYAC Runners Club 1" coming in third. The winner for women's was the "Flash Posse," for men's was "Team Rockland" and "NY Flyers Red" was the co-ed winner. *

The Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence covered a more than 50-mile, nine-leg course from Bear Mountain to downtown New Rochelle, with legs of three to nine miles. Participants included more than 130 teams of six to nine runners of every level of expertise, including some with a special commitment to ending violence, such as: "NYSP Elite" team of New York State troopers, who had to replace two members when one was wounded and one killed in the line of duty; the "GirlPower" team from Massachusetts, which includes two members who have lost loved ones as a result of violence, including Kristen Bonistall, who runs in memory of her sister Lindsey of White Plains; "NYPD Highbridge Coyotes," led by team captain Eddie Perez, NYPD officer from New York City; and "CUNY Law in Training" team consisting of students from CUNY Law School.

Helping End the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Awards were presented to top teams and top fundraisers at the finish line festivities at New Roc City in New Rochelle, attended by runners, family and friends. During the ceremony Carol Kurzig, Executive Director, Avon Foundation, presented $75,000 to Ali Torre for the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation. The funds will expand the "Margaret's Place" program at White Plains High School, which combats domestic and dating violence and was established with funds raised at last year's Need for Speed Relay. Among the speakers at the ceremony was a 10th grade "peer leader" from the "Margaret's Place" program, who brought to life the importance of providing students with a safe place and people to turn to. Additional funds will be awarded to local domestic violence organizations for programs focused on children.

At the finish line festivities, runners, family and friends had the opportunity to speak with representatives of local domestic violence agencies such as the New York Asian Women's Center, Northern Westchester Shelter, Safe Horizon, Sanctuary for Families and Shelter Our Sisters. All of these organizations are funded by the Avon Foundation under the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence and the Helping Children of Domestic Violence programs.

Throughout the afternoon, everyone enjoyed music by event sponsor Q104.3 radio, led by DJ Jonathan Clarke, plus food and beverages generously donated and hosted by Buffalo Wild Wings. The Need for Speed Relay was also generously supported by Bally Total Fitness, CherryPharm, FIJI Water, FuelBelt in addition to Q104.3 and Buffalo Wild Wings.

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 a dozen relay races coast-to-coast through October, offering participants the opportunity to raise funds for the important cause of domestic violence. Runners can 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 two years funds were awarded to nearly 250 domestic violence organizations and programs. Through 2006 Avon philanthropic programs in 50 countries have raised and awarded a total of more than $500 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.

The Avon Foundation is grateful for financial support from Avon Products, Inc. to underwrite the production and marketing cost of the Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence, to ensure that all funds raised can be donated directly to the cause of domestic violence.

*For full winner results visit www.needforspeedrelay.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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