The Story Behind Memorial Day and Murph
As we all get ready for the unofficial start of summer, CrossFitters across America are looking forward to our annual tradition of finishing the Hero WOD, Murph. In case you’re not familiar with Lt. Michael P. Murphy’s story, here’s a good biography of the courageous Navy SEAL whose act of courage saved many lives. Here’s part of his amazing story:
On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing tasked with finding key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.
A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.
Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire. This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy. While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point, 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. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.
Like so many who have served and continue to serve our nation, Lt. Murphy’s sacrifice is worthy of our respect and humility. So we aim to pay tribute to Murph for that exact reason, but the WOD is daunting. It is worth the attempt even if you think that you can’t make it through. Here is some guidance from Beyond The Whiteboard:
First, there’s two methods of finishing Murph. While you have to start and finish with a 1 mile run, the 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 air squats can either be done in order, or partitioned. The most common strategy is to partition the reps into 20 rounds of “Cindy” or 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats. If you’re really trying to maximize your time and don’t think you can do 20 rounds of 10 push-ups unbroken, you can split the push-ups around the air squats. So you would do 20 rounds of: 5 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 15 air squats, 5 push-ups. Performing “Murph” in the un-partitioned manner is the more difficult of the strategies, as the push-ups will be the part that will have lots of rest in between sets. The partitioned way lets you chip away at the other movements while your push-ups take a break.
However you decide to take on Murph this year, all CrossFitters and Military Personnel are welcome at the Bronx Box. On Monday May 29th, we’ll run heats of 20 every hour starting at 9 a.m., breaking at noon for food, and going until 3 p.m. All active/reservist military personnel can workout for free. Beginners or non-members of unconfirmed experience level will be scaled or partner accordingly by CrossFit SoBro coaches. Pick up the official CrossFit SoBro Murph T-Shirt for $25, too. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Scholarship Foundation. If you’re stopping by for the first time, contact us here to learn more. If you’ve been here before, make sure to sign up for a heat on Zen Planner.