Memorial Day was established to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Among those military personnel honored during this annual holiday is LT. Michael P. Murphy. The Navy SEAL was killed by Taliban fighters while sacrificing himself to transmit a distress call for help to save his fellow soldiers in June 2005. Murphy was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007 for his heroic action.

To honor Murphy, the Murph Challenge was started as a fundraiser for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Murph Challenge is an opportunity for men and women to dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor Murphy, who sacrificed everything for our freedom.

Participants in this CrossFit workout start with a 1-mile run followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 squats (which can be modified) with another 1-mile run completing the challenge. Murphy did this workout wearing a 20-pound weighted vest.

Several Park Rapids athletes accepted the Memorial Day Murph Challenge on Monday, May 25.

This was the third Murph Challenge for Glen Norris and Tom Juberian.

“I first came across Michael Murphy when I read the book ‘Lone Survivor’ and subsequently heard about the Murph Challenge through social media. I decided to take on the challenge to pay my respect to Mike Murphy and all those that have given their lives in service of their countries,” said Norris. “I am actually British by birth and have lived in the U.S. for the last 16 years. I like to think that if doing the Murph can bring attention and recognition to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, then it’s more than worth it and the very least I can do.”

“I have done the challenge each of the past three years after learning of fallen Navy SEAL Michael Murphy and this workout being one of his favorite workouts to do,” said Juberian. “He called it ‘Body Armor’ but it was later renamed after him. It has become a staple in the CrossFit community to do it on Memorial Day across the nation.”

Norris didn’t have a certain time in mind, but did set a goal of completing the challenge in order.

“I typically work out once a day when the gyms are open, but like everyone hitting the gym is not an option at the moment so it’s been a matter of adapting and overcoming. I’m lucky enough to have access to a small limited gym facility at work at the moment so I can at least get some training done,” said Norris. “I didn’t set myself a time target this year, but I did set myself a target of completing all reps in order and without assistance. This year I wanted to do 100 consecutive pull-ups/chin-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 squats and I managed to achieve my target.”

Juberian met his goal of topping his time from last year.

“I just try to improve on each year’s time, so yes I did have it in the back of my head to beat my time from last year,” said Juberian. “I felt the toughest part was the start of the second mile. After doing 300 squats, it took a while to get my legs under me again.”

Dan Pike, Diane O’Hern and Laura Juberian completed their second Murph Challenge.

“I was challenged to do it. It’s something you can do on your own and it’s a fun workout,” said Pike. “Definitely the pull-ups were the hardest part, but it was tough trying to run the last mile after doing all those pull-ups and squats.”

“I try to run three miles two to three times a week and I exercise quite a bit, but I was tired,” said O’Hern a day after the workout. “My legs aren’t sore, but my triceps are really sore. I did the Half Murphy Challenge last year, so I wanted to try and do the full one this year.”

“I completed the challenge because it's a workout designed to honor those that have lost their lives for our freedom,” said Laura Juberian. “Keeping in mind all those that have sacrificed their own lives for us to be here and celebrate Memorial Day was the drive and motivation I needed to push through usual physical limits and humbly pay tribute to those that gave so much more.”

After surviving the workout, all of the local participants plan on completing the Murph Challenge again next year.

“I’d like to do it again,” said O’Hern.

“I’ll definitely do it again. It’s a good way to start Memorial Day,” said Pike. “Next year I want to do it with the vest. My goal is to get under 50 minutes. That would be great, but I’d be happy to get under an hour.”

“There wasn't a time I was shooting for, but my goal was to get through all of the pull-ups while using a band which was definitely the toughest part of the challenge for me,” said Laura Juberian. “I will definitely do this again next year.”

“I plan to continue to do it as long as my body allows,” said Norris. “Hopefully next year we can look forward to getting back to ‘Murphing’ without the need for social distancing.”

“I hope to do it every year and would love to grow the awareness in the community and turn it into a challenge that everyone can do,” said Tom Juberian, who is one of the owners of Anytime Fitness. “Ultimately it would be fantastic to create a competition of sorts to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. But that wasn’t in the cards this year with COVID-19 preventing us from having the gym open for anyone to join us and use our equipment.”