Every year on the American, Memorial Day weekend, CrossFitters in affiliates across the world perform the Hero workout, ‘Murph’. It is a workout that has become synonymous with CrossFit, not just for its brutal toughness, but for what it represents. As is the case with every Hero workout, it has a story of courage and sacrifice behind it.
"In early 2005 Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE as officer in charge of Alpha Platoon and deployed to Afghanistan. In June of that year, Murphy was leading a four-man reconnaissance team in Kunar province as part of a counter-insurgent mission. During the mission the team encountered a group of local goat herders.
A discussion was held among the four SEALs regarding the rules of engagement and what they should do with the herders, who were being held at gunpoint. Eventually the men decided to release them, but not soon after the SEALs were surrounded and ambushed by an overwhelming Taliban force. Murphy, who was trying to reach HQ via satellite phone, willingly exposed himself to enemy fire by stepping into a clearing where he might get a signal to make the call. Murphy was shot in the back, but still managed to calmly complete the call for reinforcements and return to his position to continue the fight with his men. HQ sent an MH-47 Chinook helicopter to rescue the team, but while attempting to set down in rugged terrain, the helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, killing all 16 men on board.
“These men were fathers, husbands and sons. They were brothers to their fellow SEALs. They were also CrossFitters. In their actions, these men embodied the values and spirit of true heroes, and to immortalise their courage, bravery and self-sacrifice, the CrossFit Hero workouts were created.”
These HERO workouts are symbolic gestures of respect for all the fallen soldiers and service men and women who defend our freedom. CrossFit affiliates around the world, regardless of ethnicity or nation, honour their courage by pushing themselves to the limit in these intentionally brutal workouts. It is a way to remember these men and women—to ensure that they are never forgotten. Every Memorial Day weekend, we remember Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy."
This weekend we descended upon CrossFit Huntsman to pay homage & respect, not only to Lt. Michael Murphy, but to everyone who have lost their lives on duty for the freedom of others.
It was my first time tackling the workout but it was one I'd always wanted to get my teeth into. Not only do I hold a deep respect for the armed forces but I love the feeling of standing at the bottom of the mountain, staring up at the huge workout ahead.
1 Mile Run - 100 Pull ups - 200 Push ups - 300 Squats - 1 Mile Run (wearing a 20lb body armour)
Break those reps up however you please and never quit. It's as simple as that.
Blood & sweat were the order of the day and my body did not disappoint, the searing heat pounded our backs as we embarked on the first run. All felt good coming round the final corner with plenty of zip & vigour, 'Murph' felt solid.
Inside the box I decided to tackle the reps as 20 rounds of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups & 15 squats. That's 20 rounds of hard graft and boy did I know it. Come round 6 I was in deep waters, sweat streaming down my back & blood greasing up my palm from a ripped callus... As I'm staring down at the chalk board with 14 rounds to go, reality hit.
This isn't going to end well.
With each round ticked off, every one gets harder, but you're ever slighty closer to that run out of the door. The mind tries to psyche you out of your flow but Lt. Muprhy keeps you there. Each rep pushes you deeper into yourself and the mental battle takes over. Don't quit. Push hard, Push through and finally... you will make it out of that door...
That final run was strange. You feel euphoric that you're on that final furlong but your legs are shot. Your running with lead boots through what feels like a swamp. It was on the final run where I really thought about those people who never make it back from war. People literally laying it all on the line so that we can live how we choose to. If that doesn't push you to keep those legs going, nothing will.
As you make the three quarter mark... You're body clicks into it's final gear and the run home feels strong. You dig deep & punch forward until you see the end. You get through the door, look at the clock and it's all over.
For another year anyway...
Thank you Lt. Michael Murphy. Thank you to every soldier who leaves their family & friends behind to fight for us, you really are heroes.