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home > community > viewpoint > the need for speed relay against domestic violence—new york’s original, and another seven relays around the nation

The Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence—New York’s Original, and Another Seven Relays Around the Nation
Enjoy the terrific experience and camaraderie of a distance relay while making a real difference in the lives of children impacted by domestic violence. Thanks to the Avon Foundation, this tremendously important issue now has legs—your legs.

The Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence—New York’s Original, and Another Seven Relays Around the Nation

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Monday, 12 May, 2008

The original Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence in West Chester County, New York will step off on June 8, 2008 at Bear Mountain State Park, running to New Roc City in New Rochelle, New York. This is the third annual event in New York—the original. But for the second year the Avon Foundation has gone national with the Need for Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence. They are partnering with seven other relays across the country encompassing courses in 11 states. In total these relays will cover 1,231 running miles in 225 segments to give many runners the opportunity— individually or with teams—to help the estimated 10 million children in our communities that are affected by domestic violence this year. There will also be one cycling relay of 200 miles in eight legs.

Make your run more meaningful, and more rewarding. Get your heart rate up, and put your heart in the right place by getting involved in this tremendously important effort to assist victims of domestic violence. Pick any of these wonderful relays—outstanding events each—and make your experience and that of your team much more meaningful and rewarding.

The Original—Westchester County, New York
Get your team together. You only need 6 to 9 runners to compete in this outstanding, very worthwhile running experience. It is unique, with nine legs varying from 2.9 to 8.4 miles, and varying also in terrain and overall difficulty. There is a place for runners of all abilities. The legs in order from Bear Mountain State Park to New Rochelle—approximately 53 miles—are: 8.4, 7.5, 6.5, 2.9, 6.8, 6.4, 5.1, 3.7, and 5.7 miles. The course traverses beautiful Westchester County through Hudson Valley towns, through state and county parks, and mostly along trails—terrific relay running experience.

There will be a staggered start so teams do not become too spread. Running is an all-weather sport, so it will take place rain or shine. The finish celebration will be terrific, with live music and lots of food—including great stuff from Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar.

There will be awards given for the top three teams overall, plus the top three in each of the 12 categories: Co-ed Open, Masters, Corporate, Club/School; Women’s Open, Masters, Corporate, Club/School; and Men’s Open, Masters, Corporate, and Club/School. Those raising $75 or more in pledges are eligible to partake in the VIP finish area with food, beverages, massage, and a special gift. All teams are eligible for fundraising prizes as well. Check the Relay Website for details on prizes, registration, accommodation, and many other details:

The Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence National Relay Series
This year there are seven other events taking part in the National Need for Speed Relay Series. Each is an outstanding event in its own right, and this adds another very positive dimension to each. There are six other running relays and one unique cycling event. As with the original relay in New York, three of the events will take place in June; there will be one each in July and August, and two in September.

The Premiere Partner is the Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire, which will partner with the Avon Foundation and the Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence Relay Series for the second year running. Reach the Beach runs 200 miles in 36 legs over approximately 24 hours from the White Mountains in New Hampshire to the Atlantic shore. It was chosen from many events across the country because of its outstanding organization and record of success and dedication to charitable and environmental causes. Each event in the series was chosen from across the country to run in support of this program because of outstanding leadership, organization, and commitment to community. Funds raised with this series of partnerships and this event will be part of the program aimed at providing help for families and especially children affected by domestic violence. For more on the program and the series go to or

Madison to Chicago Relay
Running from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois, this event will be held June 6 and 7. It covers approximately 200 miles in 36 legs overnight. Interestingly they take teams from 2 persons to 12, and they match up individuals with teams. And they have a unique race-track mile. Details are available at or

Reno – Tahoe Odyssey Relay Adventure
This event takes place on the same weekend, June 6 and 7, and is also running interstate—from Reno, Nevada to Lake Tahoe, California. And it covers approximately 178 miles in 36 legs, typical of the established overnight relay formula. The scenery is spectacular. It is a relay run ideally suited for teams of 12 runners on a 178 mile course. It starts in Downtown Reno along the Truckee River, and travels through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and along the shores of Lake Tahoe. It then circles back through the Northern Nevada high desert to where you began in Reno—one of the few overnight relays that is a loop and not point-to-point. The race begins Friday. It is a staggered start, with waves of teams starting every 15 to 30 minutes. The slower seeded teams will begin around 9 a.m. and the faster seeded teams will begin in the afternoon. See details at or

Green Mountain Relay, Jeffersonville to Bennington, Vermont
Scheduled for June 21-22, the 3rd annual Green Mountain Relay starts in the small town of Jeffersonville - about a 50-minute drive from Burlington – and finishes in the beautiful community of Bennington, which is nestled between the Taconic and Green Mountains in the southwestern corner of Vermont. The majority of the GMR route traverses the central Vermont Route 100 corridor, taking secondary country roads, some trails, and portions of historic Route 100. Once south of Londonderry, the route utilizes sections of US 30 and RT 7A and paralleling side roads. Runners will cross seven of Vermont’s historic covered bridges and will sample many of Vermont’s natural wonders: rivers, brooks, farmlands, maple forests, the Green Mountains, Stowe Hollow, Granville Gulch, Killington, Okemo, Mount Bromley, and many other classic Vermont postcard scenes.

The 200-mile Green Mountain Relay is divided into 36 legs with designated runner exchange zones at the end of each leg. There are three main categories for teams to choose from: 12-person teams, Ultra teams consisting of 6-runners who can run either a 6x1 or 6x6 configuration, or a Super-Ultra category for 1 to 3-person teams. High School teams are also encouraged to participate. The course is well marked and monitored with plenty of access to aid.

Race Director Paul Vanderheiden, owner of Timberline Events LLC, also organizes the Wild West Relay in Colorado, also part of the Need for Speed Series Paul’s vision for his relays is to find very scenic, rural routes so both local and out-of-state teams experience the essence of the area. He gathers support from the local communities and gives back to them through his Volunteers With A Purpose program, a unique program providing local non-profit organizations with a fund-raising opportunity. or

The Black and Blue Double Century Relay—Cycling
This is the only cycling event in the series. It rides for 200 miles with eight legs on July 19, 2008. The only cycling event of its kind in the contiguous United States, The Black & Blue, which is a double century (200-mile) relay, will showcase the demanding mountainous roads and notable rivers of Southwestern Virginia and Western North Carolina. Named for the difficulty and to reflect the Black Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains through which the course traverses, The Black & Blue is sure to be a bike challenge like no other.

The Black & Blue consists of 1 to 8 person teams that cover the 200-mile distance and 21,758' of elevation change. Riders will complete anywhere from 25 miles to 200 miles.

The Black & Blue starts at Grayson Highlands State Park, Grayson County, VA, which is near the base of Mount Rogers (5729'), the highest peak in Virginia. The course primarily follows scenic, country roads as it winds its way through North Carolina's High Country to the finish in Asheville. The course features some of the region's most spectacular scenery. or

The Wild West Relay, Colorado
The fifth annual Wild West Relay runs 195 miles in 36 legs from Fort Collins in the east to Steamboat Springs in the west of Colorado with a brief sortie into Wyoming. It is a tremendously scenic tour of the Rocky Mountains including significant elevation change. It runs August 1 and 2, 2008. The Wild West Relay is a distance team running relay race adventure in Colorado designed for runners of all abilities.
This Colorado relay race begins by the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Fort Collins, and finishes in the beautiful ski and summer resort town of Steamboat Springs. Held on open public roads, much of this very scenic and remote course runs through National Forests or on dirt roads. The route winds through Roosevelt, Medicine Bow, and Routt National Forests, and through small, mountain and ranching communities. Or
Blue Ridge Relay
Blue Ridge Relay will also partner with the Avon Foundation Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence series. Please visit and click on the Blue Ridge Relay link to sign up today!! The 208 Mile Blue Ridge Relay (BRR208), which is one of the longest running relay races in the United States, takes place in the picturesque Blue Ridge and Black Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. It consists of maximum 12 person (4 person minimum) teams that rotate through 36 transition areas as they cover the 208-mile distance of the race. Each relay team member runs 3 legs of varying lengths and difficulty and will cover an average total distance of ~16.6 miles. The runners rotate in a set order once the race begins and will be obligated to follow this rotation until the final runner finishes in Asheville, North Carolina! or

The Blue Ridge Relay starts at Grayson Highlands State Park, Grayson County, VA, which is near the base of Mount Rogers (5729'), the highest peak in Virginia. The course primarily follows scenic, country roads as it winds its way through North Carolina's High Country to the finish in Asheville. The course features some of the region's most spectacular scenery including the balds of Grayson Highlands State Park, the New River, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain (5964'), and Mount Mitchell (6684'), the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.

Reach the Beach, Franconia to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
The Reach the Beach Relay runs 200 miles in 24 hours through some of the most beautiful regions in North America. Ask anyone who has participated, and they will tell you it packs innumerable memories and camaraderie into those hours. All 36 legs are very different, every exchange an experience, and every transition area an opportunity to meet runners form all over the land. Sharing, planning, and supporting each member of your team (and other teams as well) creates a sense of bonding and teamwork not experienced in other races. The Reach the Beach Relay is limited in numbers of participants and sells out annually, so you must sign up early. Terrific scenery and superb organization are the hallmarks of this outstanding event running September 12-13, 2008. or

Avon Foundation and their Vital Cause
The Avon Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families, with a focus on breast cancer and domestic violence. The Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence series expands on a long history of grassroots support of this cause through awareness, education, direct service and prevention programs. For more information about the Foundation, please visit

Every year up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence, and they need your help. We are asking each team to raise funds to help end the cycle, so these children don't become victims or abusers in the future. Your run and your fundraising can make a world of difference.

Avon Foundation has established a program to benefit victims of domestic violence. You can raise funds through Avon Foundation's Need for Speed Against Domestic Violence Relay campaign. Avon Foundation is teaming with these terrific select relays in different states across the country. The money that is raised will directly benefit domestic violence charities in the communities where the relays run. For more information about how you can help and the prizes that you can win for raising funds, see

Perhaps you can form a team to run in New York, and then take the adventure on the road—literally—to a destination where you can participate in an overnight classic. This relay and this series really does have legs—be a part of it. Help the Avon Foundation find solutions to this problem which ruins so many lives and tears families apart.



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