Memorial Day weekend is about honoring the men and women who have lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Military, and not just some long weekend like the Vice President Kamala Harris thinks it is, but I digress.
Every year on Memorial Day, thousands of CrossFitters, military veterans and fitness enthusiasts gather to perform a grueling workout to pay tribute to an American hero.
The workout is called “Murph” in honor of Lieutenant Michael Murphy.
I was kind of on the fence of doing this workout, but one of the coaches at the gym I go to in a way talked me into doing it. I’m also reading David Goggins’ Can’t Hurt Me book so that helped me decide to say “why not” and do this tomorrow. Plus, it’s for a cause that’s much bigger than myself.
It has become well known as a physically and mentally grueling way to demonstrate your fitness while paying tribute to a fallen American hero.
Hero WODs (Workout Of The Day), as they’re known in CrossFit, are some of the most intense workouts you’ll find anywhere. It’s not how grueling they are that makes them so well known. It’s that each one is a tribute and named after a fallen first responder or member of the military who died while serving in the line of duty.
After doing a couple Hero WODs over the last eight months, I can attest that they are indeed intense and grueling.
I suppose the intention is to think of the person it’s named for when performing the workout, especially when it gets really tough (and it will get tough), to be thankful for what they did to make our lives better as every day citizens.
As I mentioned earlier, the Memorial Day workout is named after Michael Murphy and here’s his story:
Lieutenant Michael Murphy, from Patchogue, New York, was killed in action in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wings on June 28, 2005.
Operations Red Wings went as tragically as a mission can. Early in the morning on that fateful June 28th, the military dropped off four SEALs — Lieutenant Michael Murphy and Petty Officers Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson, and Marcus Luttrell — about 10,000 feet high in the Hindu Kush Mountains. The team was to provide reconnaissance for an impending action against a top Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.
The plan took a twist for the worse, however, when some goatherds caught the team’s position. Within hours, the four SEALs were taking on fire from three different sides from a force of more than 50 anti-coalition militiamen.
The four men, all wounded, were pinned against cliffs, which blocked the signal that they needed to make a distress call.
Murphy understood his team’s deadly predicament, so he, according to the Navy, “unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain better position to transmit a call to get help for his men. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him cover and made him a target for the enemy. He was shot in the back, causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in.”
Murphy, Dietz and Axelson died on that mountainside. As did 16 U.S. Military personnel aboard a Chinook helicopter that was shot down during the fight.
Lutrell was able to escape. Locals discovered him and carried him to a nearby village, where they kept him for three days. Lutrell’s story is told in the book and movie Lone Survivor.
Now, here’s the “Murph” workout: You start by running one mile, then you have to do 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, before concluding the workout with another one mile run.