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The Murph Challenge – Honoring the Fallen by Improving Ourselves

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
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The Murph Challenge is an annual fitness event held on Memorial Day, dedicated to honoring the memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, a United States Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan in June 2005. The challenge consists of a grueling workout that includes a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run, all performed while wearing 20 pounds of body armor or a weight vest. This specific workout was one of Murphy's favorites, which he originally referred to as "Body Armor."

Michael Murphy, the namesake of the Murph Challenge, was an exceptional officer and athlete. Born in 1976 in Smithtown, New York, he excelled academically and athletically, eventually joining the Navy and completing SEAL training in 2002. His leadership and bravery were posthumously recognized with the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest decoration, making him the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive this honor for actions in Afghanistan.

Murphy's heroism came to national attention following fierce combat against Taliban fighters in the Hindu Kush mountains, a mission later detailed in the book and film "Lone Survivor." During this mission, he exposed himself to enemy fire to transmit a call for help for his team, demonstrating extraordinary courage and commitment to his fellow SEALs.

The Murph Challenge began informally within the CrossFit community, a fitness regime that Murphy was known to follow and advocate. The workout, reflective of his discipline and physical fitness, became a Memorial Day tradition for many CrossFit gyms across the nation. In 2014, the Murph Challenge was officially launched as a fundraiser by the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, established by Murphy's family to provide educational scholarships and to support other charitable causes in his memory.

Each year, thousands of participants around the world take part in the Murph Challenge, not only as a test of physical endurance but also to pay tribute to Murphy and other fallen service members. The event helps raise funds for the scholarship foundation, promoting education and continuing Murphy’s legacy of leadership and commitment to service.

Participants register through the official Murph Challenge website, where they can enter their workout times and compete with others globally. The annual collective effort during this challenge not only fosters community and national pride but also serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by military personnel like Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy.

Often, we see sacrifice as a one off; either it is accomplished to fatal effect or not done at all. In truth, we as Americans can make small and incremental sacrifices to aid our country and our fellow citizens every day. Gaining and maintaining operational strength and health is not only beneficial to those who serve, but to our fellow Americans as well. Being ready to fight is a fine aspiration, but being ready to help in times of need such as natural disasters or just helping the widow down the street carry in her groceries can strengthen our community and honor the memory of those gone before.

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