What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend? We traditionally think of this day as the kickoff to summer; a time to barbecue and crack open a cold one by the pool. But, CrossFitters around the country have adopted a new tradition on Memorial Day that's far from relaxing—the Murph Memorial Day Challenge.
The grueling Murph workout is done in tribute to the fallen U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, and registrations raise funds for a scholarship foundation in his name. The Murph has become a national movement and a symbol of his ultimate sacrifice, and doing the Murph on Memorial Day is just a small way to honor him and other fallen service members.
“We’re proud that many of our O2 team members are veterans,” said O2 CEO Dave Colina. “O2 is also deeply honored to partner with our veteran gym owners and support veteran’s causes. We're forever grateful for the sacrifices made by those who serve. I personally have done the Murph Challenge every year for almost a decade. Join me this year and let’s get after it!”
Michael Murphy’s life was a testament to hard work, selfless service, and heroism. He joined the Navy in 2000 and did several tours of duty in the Middle East. Lt. Murphy died in combat in 2005 while leading a SEAL mission in Afghanistan. Engaged in an intense hours-long gun battle while cut off from communication, Lt. Murphy, already wounded, sacrificed himself to leave cover and radio for assistance. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2007, and the film Lone Survivor recounts his heroism as told by the only surviving team member from that day.
Lt. Murphy originally created this workout to train for the rigors of being a Navy SEAL. He called it Body Armor and designed it similarly to his favorite WODs in CrossFit: a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and another 1 mile run, all while wearing military body armor and racing against the clock.
CrossFit introduced the Murph as a Hero WOD—a set created to honor a fallen soldier or first responder—and it's as tough and as humbling as they come. The idea to do the Murph on Memorial Day spread by word of mouth among CrossFitters and eventually went viral.
The Challenge has evolved to be accessible to athletes at any level: it can be scaled to the ability of the individual and broken up as needed. But, that doesn’t mean it should be easy. The goal is to push yourself beyond previous limits, mentally and physically.
So, what’s your Murph?