Faces of NYCM: Team NYCM Hits the Roads at the 2021 Peak to Brew Relay - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Aug 16, 2021

Faces of NYCM: Team NYCM Hits the Roads at the 2021 Peak to Brew Relay


NYCM Insurance prioritizes the importance of team-building and company culture. One event that a group of employees look forward to participating in together is the annual Peak to Brew Relay. With three different upstate New York locations, (the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes, and the Catskills) the Peak to Brew Relay is a unique racing experience in which you take a scenic and challenging course from the “peak” of a mountain to the end, at a local brewery. In a typical year, NYCM would participate in the Peak to Brew relay that runs over twenty-four hours straight, from the beginning of one day into the next morning. Team NYCM trains for months in preparation for this grueling event. Due to covid restrictions, this year the relay will run for just one day. Continue reading to learn more about the 2021 NYCM Team and what this experience means to some of our most passionate runners.

Making New Friends

 One thing that everyone on this year’s team agrees on, is that a huge driving force behind participating is the friendships that form along the way. Even though many of the team members are either current or former employees, not everyone has had a chance to work together or even meet prior to training for the event. Liz Brigham of our Underwriting Department says that she loves taking part in Peak to Brew because of how it brings people together. “Peak to Brew is all about supporting one another and doing whatever needs to be done to complete our goal. Whether it’s stopping at every mile to root on a team member, or even support another team with a refreshing water bottle or cheer, we’re all there for each other. Even the training process brings us closer. We are constantly checking in to see how everyone is doing.”

Team spirit is critical when running a relay race. If you ask Rachel Grup of our Customer Service Team, she’ll tell you that if you’re running a Peak to Brew relay, you’ll never be short of it. “The support and positivity from everyone involved in this event is overwhelming. Everyone encourages each other regardless of which team you're on, which I think is great.” This sentiment is supported by Amanda Loitsch of our People Development Team who adds, “The comradery is huge for me. Overall, Peak to Brew is a challenge that you go through together as a team. Even amidst the exhaustion, we end up with a good story or a good laugh.”

Inspiration From Somewhere Unexpected

Whether it’s a runner’s first race or fifth, completing a Peak to Brew relay is often seen as both an inspiring physical and mental challenge. Many of the participants either train in the weeks leading up to the relay or run regularly outside of Peak to Brew all year long. “A completed Peak to Brew race is like a badge of honor.” says Paula Howard of our Auto Claims Department. “The hard work and training that goes into an intense relay race like this does not go unrecognized amongst your fellow runners. It’s inspiring to learn that you can get through almost anything with hard work, determination, and a supportive team helping you keep your eye on the prize!” 

Derek Alexander of our Application Development Team echoes his teammates sentiments and adds, “That’s exactly what Peak to Brew means to me. It's an inspiration, with a fair amount of pain sprinkled in,” he chuckles and then continues. “I enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing the race. It pushes me to do as many runs during the year as my legs will allow!”

Pushing Personal Limits

A huge part of taking on any new challenge is the push to surpass your own personal limits and goals. Amanda Loitsch says that this relay is what first got her out of her comfort zone when it came to running. “Once I completed the first relay, I knew I couldn't miss the opportunity to do it again. It’s a challenge that brings the whole team together and motivates me to run hills all summer long in preparation!” 

Along with the mental challenge of pushing yourself further than you’ve ever gone before, there’s the obvious physical challenge of putting your body through such a difficult race. NYCM Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Robinson had this to share on pushing her personal limits. “Peak to Brew is certainly a physical challenge. Each year it pushes me to go beyond the perceived limits of my own capabilities. I’ve sustained several injuries over the years and have had a total of nine orthopedic surgeries. For me, this relay race and really running in general, is about pushing myself to do something that is not “comfortable” and to prove to myself that I can do so much more than what my mind and my body tell me I can.  It is really rewarding to look back and say, ‘I did that!’”

Creating Lifelong Memories

 If there’s anything that Peak to Brew does best, it’s helping participants create memories that last them a lifetime. Cheryl Robinson also shares some of her favorite memories of Peak to Brews’ past. “One of my favorite things about Peak to Brew is the memories we get to make with our friends. Between the pre-relay dinners in Lake Placid, the after parties at Saranac Brewery, and night running through pouring rain, it’s hard to say which memory is my favorite, so I’ll share a few. We have the time that Amanda ran for miles while clapping her hands through the woods to keep away bears. Or the time we all received a semi-panicked text from Kevin after he thought he had gotten lost in the woods. There was also the time that Derek tried (miserably) to sleep using a rock as a pillow. He ended up signing on for another 4 years. Or the time that our driver read us a book over the phone to help pass the time. Then we have the pouring rain that ALWAYS falls during the after party. The truth is the bond created with your team after running this event together isn’t something you can replicate.”

To learn more about NYCM and our company culture, check out the link below.