The True Story Behind Memorial Day Murph

Today is Memorial Day, a US holiday that honors those who died while on duty with the US military. It is an American tradition to visit military memorials or cemeteries to honor those have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. In the CrossFit community, another tradition has formed to honor those who have died in the performance of their military duties, which is to honor service members with a Hero WOD (workout of the day). On Memorial Day, the most popular Hero WOD that is performed is that named after Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, called “Murph.”

Lieutenant Murphy was the commander of a 4-person team that was on a mission in Afghanistan to kill and capture the leaders of the Taliban. They were hiding in a remote section of a mountainous area that had poor cell phone reception. Their hideout was leaked to local Taliban forces who surrounded and attacked the service members. In an effort to get better cell phone service to contact headquarters to request immediate help, Lieutenant Murphy left his cover position, exposing himself and was killed in the gunfire. Lieutenant Murphy was awarded several of the Navy’s highest honors, including the Medal of Honor Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal, for his selfless actions to protect his service men in the War in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Murphy trained for the Navy by running, doing calisthenics, and climbing ropes. He created a workout that he named “Body Armor” which consisted of running 1 mile, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats, and finishing with a 1 mile run all while wearing a 20lb weight vest. In 2005, the founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, posted the workout of the day as Lieutenant Murphy’s favorite, the “Body Armor” workout, which from here on our will be referred to as “Murph” in memory of Lieutenant Murphy.

The Murph workout has now become a tradition to complete over the Memorial Holiday Weekend. Athletes from all over the world participate in this grueling workout in remembrance of Lieutenant Murphy and others who have died during their service. Athletes are reminded during the memorial workout that in times where there may be pain from the brutal workout, that they are able to push themselves to the limits. It is a way to remember these service members to ensure that they are never forgotten. On this Memorial Day, we thank you for your service, Lieutenant Murphy.

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