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Published on May 27, 2024
Arizona's Tribute to Tireless Valor, The Murph Challenge Sweeps the State in a True Hero's MemorySource: The original uploader was Joebengo at English Wikipedia.(Original text: U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED) 071001-N-0000X-001), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This Memorial Day weekend, Arizonians are set to sweat and honor a true American hero through an intense fitness challenge known as The Murph Challenge. The brutal workout, consisting of a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and a final mile run—completed with a 20-pound vest—aims to pay homage to the late Navy SEAL LT. Michael Murphy, who religiously performed this very routine. Gyms across the state join in on different days and times to remember the courage of a man who laid down his life in Afghanistan back in 2005, saving the lives of his comrades. To mark its significance, even the Clarkdale Police Department is officially hosting the challenge for the first time, as reported by ABC15.

But who says heroism can't be tailored? In homage to LT. Murphy's legendary stamina, participants are encouraged to tailor the workout to their capability levels. Whether a wide-eyed novice or a seasoned athlete, from 9 to 90, every participant finds their own "Murph," as they pay tribute through their effort and sweat. Men's Health magazine uncovered this tradition's origins and popularity—a tale of sacrifice and honor, inspiring countless individuals to push beyond their limits. It isn't just a physical endeavor, it's an emotional pilgrimage into the heart of valor, according to Dr. Josh Appel, who initiated the Memorial Day Murph workout and shared by Two Percent.

Let's rewind to Memorial Day Weekend, 2007. Dr. Josh Appel, Chief of Emergency Medicine at the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System, then a medical resident, wanted to infuse the holiday with real remembrance. CrossFit Albany was where Dr. Appel stumbled upon the hero WOD named "Murph." As a former Air Force pararescueman, he recognized the workout's eponym as the SEAL he once extracted from the chilling clutches of a rugged Afghan mountainside. Binding stories of courage and sacrifice to the sinew of those who are willing to listen, Dr. Appel turned a workout into a national memorial—a unifying force that thrusts one's mind into the shoes of those who fought on terror-torn terrains and forbidding battlegrounds.

Dr. Appel's deeply personal connection to the workout, and LT. Murphy himself embody the soul of Memorial Day: it is more than just barbecues and discount sales; it's about the collective weight of sacrifice and the remembrance of those who've borne it. He daringly donned the same body armor he wore during that fateful rescue mission while leading 13 fellow climbers to share in the challenge. The Murph isn't a competition—it’s a shared monument of sweat and fortitude, a reflection on lives willingly offered for the ideals we stand for, as Dr. Appel told Two Percent. This Memorial Day, Arizonans rise to honor the fallen, not with silence, but with their pounding hearts and gasping breaths—the cadence of the living to remember the dead.