Instead of doing the traditional workout “Murph” on Memorial Day, Pennant CrossFit honored servicemen and servicewomen by working out for 24 hours.
The idea came from CrossFit Maine Line in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Every hour on the hour, the Box did a Hero workout.
“Everybody seems to have Murph in their mind as a traditional, Memorial Day WOD. And it’s not to diminish the importance of doing Murph, but what if we do something that’s a little bigger and a little more profound, and we do it over 24 hours? And we don’t just do it simply as a remembrance, but on top of that, we’re raising money for a really good cause,” explained Rob Seymour, a Coach at CrossFit Pennant.
Starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 29, the Box had a small ceremony before the first workout. A decorated marine spoke about the significance of Hero workouts. Another member sang the national anthem. Then, Seymour pulled the first Hero workout from a hopper.
Support even came from outside of the gym’s community. The family of SPC Blake Whipple — an Army man who died November 5, 2010 in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit and the hero behind the workout “Whipple” — heard of what CrossFit Pennant was doing to honor servicemen and servicewomen. They sent a video thanking the Box and those participating in the 24 hours.
Members were invited to set up tents in a grassy area near the Box. They were also able to team up to break up each workout. Or, certain team members could do a workout while other members rested.
Seymour explained no one had to stay there the full 24 hours. “What we’re really trying to do is make this as accessible as possible to as many people as possible to be able to pay tribute. And then, as it works out, with the last WOD we’re going to do on Monday morning is ‘Murph,’” said Seymour. Scaling, he said, is of course encouraged if necessary.
Seymour said without volunteers, like that member, the event would not have been possible. For example, at 1 a.m., one member of the gym pledged to donate $3 for every person that signed up to do the WOD that hour.
The biggest challenge he faced, Seymour said, was thinking through the logistics. But because of the members who volunteered, he didn’t have to worry about assembling teams, the raffle table — which has accrued over $5,000 in prizes — and selling tickets.
Ultimately, Seymour said it doesn’t matter how much money is on the raffle table or how much weight is on the bar. He wanted to keep the ‘why’ at the forefront of the event. “One thing we’re going to impress upon people is, nobody cares about the weight on your bar. Nobody cares about how many reps you do. Nobody cares how you scale,” he said. “And this is not a competition. It’s about paying your respects.”
Update: For this event, Pennant CrossFit raised over $5,300 for Veterans Inc.