The Murph

The Murph Challenge

Saturday morning, my gym took on The Murph Challenge.

The Murph

For those unfamiliar with The Murph Challenge, it is the official annual fundraiser of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. It has raised nearly $800,000 in the last three years and provides 22 or more scholarships each year.

Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wings, tasked with finding a key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Murphy’s men came under fire and Murphy bravely put himself in the line of fire to give his men a chance at survival. One member of his team, Marcus Luttrell, survived. Lt. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 27, 2007. Read more about him here.

The Murph is largely associated with CrossFit, but gyms across the country take part in the challenge each year. We started ours off with the reading of LT. Murphy’s Medal of Honor citation:

By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.

This was the worst single-day U.S. Forces death toll since Operation Enduring Freedom began nearly six years ago. It was the single largest loss of life for Naval Special Warfare since World War II.

The Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community will forever remember June 28, 2005 and the heroic efforts and sacrifices of our special operators. We hold with reverence the ultimate sacrifice that they made while engaged in that fierce fire fight on the front lines of the global war on terrorism (GWOT).

Read the entire citation here.

The workout itself is one Lt. Murphy did while deployed and wearing body armor. He called it the “Body Armor Workout.” The Murph consists of:

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 air squats
  • 1 mile run

The goal is to finish in under an hour. Weight vests or body armor are encouraged.

The Murph

I’m the first person to admit I HATE running, but on Saturday, I ran my best mile times ever. That’s largely because I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, but it’s also because I was humbled by the reading of the Medal of Honor citation. I got to run a couple of miles, do some push ups and pull up (both modified), knock out some air squats, eat some really good food (because at my gym, we EAT), and head home for a hot shower in an air conditioned apartment.

Lt. Murphy and his men didn’t get to do that.

Only one of them got to see their home again.

Memorial Day weekend is a reminder of those who perished so we could do things like the Murph and cookout and go to weddings and sit by pools and go on first dates (my weekend). Too often though, it becomes about “Big Memorial Day Weekend Sales!” and the “Official Kickoff To Summer!”

The Murph
Broke mine down into 10 rounds of 10 pull ups, 20 push ups, and 30 air squats and kept track with chalk.

I did the Murph with some modifications – push ups on my knees and inverted rows instead of pull ups because I just got a shoulder injury straightened out – and finished in 41:20. I even liked it, running and all, and I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year.

So much of leading a healthy lifestyle is mind over matter. I was reminded of that while doing the Murph. I was reminded, too, that I have it pretty damn easy, all things considered.

How did you spend your holiday weekend?

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  1. I am so glad you wrote about this! I saw several people posting about it, but had no idea what they were talking about. What a great cause. And I am so impressed with you! You are awesome!


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