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Memorial Day Murph 2021

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by Taylor Gerlach

Memorial Day is two weeks away, and if you’ve been around CrossFit for a minute, you’ve probably heard that means Murph is coming. Let’s break down this CrossFit tradition and talk about how and why you should join in!

Murph is a Hero WOD that the American CrossFit community collectively completes each year on Memorial Day. Hero WODs historically have honored fallen members of the American armed forces. Recently, others lost through tragic circumstances have joined the ever-growing list of people with memorial or hero WODs named in their honor. In short, we do hero and memorial WODs as a way to honor lives taken too soon. 

Murph is named for Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. This workout was Michael’s favorite workout, and he referred to it as “Body Armor,” inspiring the vest or body armor requirement for a true Rx score. 

If you’re interested, you can read more about Michael and his story here:

At some point in the evolution of CrossFit, annually completing Murph became a tradition, and it caught on around the county. The workout has even been programmed at the Games where the fittest in the world had to complete the workout unpartitioned in the midday California heat. At CFL, we are forging our own traditions as a fitness community by partnering with a non-profit that shares our values and goals, but more on that later! 

And now to the workout: 

1 mile Run
100 Pull-Ups
200 Push-Ups
300 Air Squats
1 mile Run
*To be completed with a weighted vest (14/20) if available

Murph is a challenging workout, but like anything we do in CrossFit, it can be scaled and adapted for all circumstances and skill levels. At CFL, we’ll make sure you have the support you need to join this tradition!

As a diverse set of individuals forming our gym community, we have a lot of various reasons for participating in Murph, and we invite you to join us and add your own personal “why” to the list.

You can use the workout as a way to celebrate Memorial Day and honor fallen service members, or even any of your personal heroes, giving it extra weight and importance if you wish.

Regardless of any meaning you give to the workout, it’s a great way to compete against yourself and others, even measuring your time with the Games athletes from 2016. Just like the Open, Murph is an annual benchmark event that you can use to measure your progress. That could look like a faster time, progressing from scaled to Rx pull-ups or push-ups, leveling up and wearing a vest for the first time, attempting the workout unpartitioned, or some other personal victory. (Make sure to ring the bell and celebrate even the small things with us!)

More than anything, our annual Murph workout is a special way to connect with other CrossFitters around the nation. By completing this workout, you are joining a CrossFit tradition and making connections with other athletes around the country.

At CFL, we are making this connection tangible by partnering with Steve’s Club National Program, a national nonprofit. Steve’s Club facilitates local, community-run clubs that strive to bring fitness, nutrition, and mentorship to underserved youth. Our goal is to donate $2,000 in proceeds from our Murph event to Steve’s Club, but our partnership won’t end there. We’re really excited about the work that Steve’s Club is doing nationwide, so this nonprofit will be the focus of all of CFL’s fundraising and charitable giving efforts throughout the year.

Steve’s Club has over 20 local clubs in cities throughout the country and removes cost barriers to wellness programs by providing reduced or no-cost programs to youth who are living in foster care, experiencing homelessness, former juvenile offenders, economically disadvantaged, exposed to violence, and/or determined to be at-risk to leave high school without a diploma. Steve’s club acts as a safe space for youth to work out, build a community, and even take on leadership roles by becoming mentors and certified coaches themselves.

We are committed to supporting these clubs as they bring the values of inclusion, health, and positive community to all youth, and we’re excited to step into this partnership as a gym. 

We’ll see you out there on Memorial Day!