In July 2002, Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy became a SEAL and earned the nickname “The Protector.” Three years later, Lieutenant Murphy was deployed to Afghanistan and put in charge of the Alpha Platoon, which was part of SEAL Delivery Team ONE.
While out on a mission in June 2005, Murphy’s team was ambushed by a Taliban force. In order to call for help, Murphy was exposed to enemy fire. He was shot in the back while trying to contact headquarters. Although wounded, he continued to fight until he was killed, giving his team members time to escape. Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell was the only survivor.
Today, not only does the movie “Lone Survivor” provide an account of the events, but each Memorial Day, in honor of Lieutenant Murphy, CrossFit Boxes across the country complete “Murph.”
The workout consists of a one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and another one mile run. But CrossFit Wylie Head Coach Chris Coker doesn’t just want his members to push themselves in the hard workout — he wants his athletes to understand why they do the workout. “We want them to have that purpose behind it … It’s a real patriotic community down here. So, we just wanted to make sure that everybody doing it knows why we’re doing it,” said Coker.
Before starting the workout, Coker will gather the members to explain the workout and movements. After the athletes are warmed up, they’ll watch a 3-minute video Coker got from the Navy SEAL Foundation that shows various sacrifices made by the armed services.
Coker explained in the four years his Box has been open, he’s seen the Murph workout grow in popularity among his members and the CrossFit community.
He understands Memorial Day is a time for members to travel or have family visit, and he experiences a lot of drop-ins that day. But because it is a tough workout, he’s prepared proper modifications for those new CrossFitters, including pairing them in teams, adjusting reps or providing scaled versions of each movement. “We’ve had to adjust and accommodate and ensure these young CrossFitters are doing things the right way and not overdoing it. Murph is quite a tough workout and it’s a lot of volume for someone who’s not used to it. We’ve had to make sure that we have a system in place to both be accommodating and be smart about how those newer athletes take it on,” explained Coker.
In addition to setting up a system for drop-ins, he donates all the money brought in by those drop-ins to The Murph Challenge. He said anytime his Box does a fundraiser, he wants to be very clear about where their money is going. “We want to make people know if they participate in something like this, if they donate to it, if they buy a T-shirt off the Murph Challenge, they’re supporting a cause. It’s not just going in somebody’s pocket book,” said Coker. “It’s important on multiple fronts to make sure people are educated about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it. It also gets to that point where people get that morale going, it makes people feel like they’re doing more than just a workout.”