"In 1976, Avon executives met Switzer at a women’s sports event and tapped her to develop programs to empower women through sports, adding a new layer to the company’s commitment to women’s economic opportunity. In 1977 the all-women Avon Futures Tennis Circuit launched, followed by the Avon International Women’s Marathon in Atlanta in March 1978, with runners from nine countries.
That same year, Avon Women’s Running Events launched in Japan and Belgium, and quickly expanded to 27 countries on five continents. From the start, the Avon Running series culminated in an annual global marathon with the winners of each country’s race plus top women runners from around the world, all brought to the event at Avon’s expense."
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