Across the country on Memorial Day, numerous 5ks and races are held to honor those soldiers that lost their lives fighting for freedom. In addition to that, Crossfit, a high-intensity strength and conditioning program, does so with a special workout called the “Murph.”
Most of Crossfit’s workouts are either named for women, like Fran or Nancy, or they are named for military or law enforcement men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for the freedom of Americans. These workouts are referred to as “hero” workouts, which is where the “Murph” falls.
The “Murph” was named for Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL Lieutenant from New York, who lost his life in 2005 while fighting in Afghanistan. He led four SEALs on a mission to capture a leader of the Taliban. They found themselves surrounded by hundreds of enemy troops, and in a desperate situation for help. Lt. Murphy moved to open ground with his satellite phone to call for help. One team member was able to escape and rescued days later. For his actions, Lt. Murphy was later recognized with the medal of honor.
However, it goes beyond just a Crossfit WOD. The Murph Challenge is held each year on Memorial Day by the Official Forged in order to raise funds for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation and serves as a primary source of funding for the foundation on an annual basis. In 2014 alone, the Official Forged was able to raise more than $250,000 for the scholarship foundation and secured three additional ongoing scholarships.
Most Crossfit enthusiasts will attempt to Murph on Memorial Day as a way to recognize the fallen. The workout, which was previously called “Body Armor” by Crossfit, includes:
- 1 mile run
- 100 pullups
- 200 pushups
- 300 air squats
- 1 mile run
The workout should be completed for time while wearing a weighted vest (at least 20 pounds) and more elite athletes will take at least 25 minutes to finish. Many will break up the repetitions into smaller chunks in order to fight the mental battle that it brings. For those that aren’t used to the high volume and repetitions, they can scale back the repetitions by about 50 percent to gauge recovery.
Once completed, participants are invited to submit their time to the Murph Challenge Leaderboard to see how they rank against others who have participated in the challenge that year. As organizers say, the Murph is “an event that helps push us, humble us, and dedicate a bit of pain and sweat for those who have given so much.”
Lora is an RRCA certified running coach and blogger at Crazy Running Girl. Since she started running more than 15 years ago in a quest to lose weight, she has run 18 marathons. This fall, she will complete her 19th at the Santa Rosa Marathon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.