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As Memorial Day approaches and the whispers of “Murph” echo through the gym, many ask, “Why are we doing Murph?” This question holds a deeply personal answer for each of us. It could be because we have a loved one who was serving. It could be the challenge of completing a daunting workout: a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and another 1-mile run. However, at its essence, Murph (and Memorial Day) is about honoring all those who sacrificed to defend our country.

Contemplating Memorial Day and its profound significance stirs a multitude of thoughts and emotions. It’s a time when we remember the families who have lost loved ones in service to our country, and those who laid down their lives to safeguard our freedom. It’s a moment of personal reflection, where I recall a missed opportunity to serve many years ago, and now, I think of my stepson’s recent decision to join the Marine Corps. It’s a mix of pride and worry, a testament to the complex range emotions that Memorial Day and participating in a challenge like “Murph” can provoke. 

Regardless of the reason, at Black Flag Athletics, we encourage our community to participate in the Murph Challenge and in my own reflections on why we do Murph, I identified two distinct reasons:

1. Celebrating Our Humanity

Grasping the true meaning of Memorial Day is a crucial step toward understanding the fragility of our humanity and the need to celebrate and cherish it. Memorial Day is more than just a day off, it’s a day to remember that the men and women we honor are not just warriors, but humans who experienced a full spectrum of emotions while fighting and ultimately sacrificing their lives for this country. Recognizing their humanity, shared emotions, and vulnerabilities amplifies the significance of their sacrifices. It’s this shared humanity that allows us to truly mourn their loss and honor their memory.

2. Respecting The Opportunity

Many men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice so we could enjoy the freedoms we have today. It is imperative to honor and respect their sacrifice by valuing the opportunities we have. Participating in Murph on Memorial Day, whether you complete the workout as prescribed or scale it, shows that we respect the opportunities we wake up with daily. Engaging in this challenge is a way to honor those who gave everything by maximizing the freedom and opportunities their sacrifices have afforded us.

In the end, the Murph Challenge is more than just a workout. It’s a tribute to the fallen, a celebration of our shared humanity, and a reminder to respect and cherish our opportunities. So, as we lace up our shoes and prepare to take on Murph, let’s remember the deeper meaning behind this tradition and hold close to our hearts and the “why” behind it. 

Yours In Fitness, 

Thomas M. Rini, MEd.

CSCS | CFL3 | Fitness Specialist | Biomechanics Specialist | USAWL1 

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Owner/Head Coach – Black Flag Athletics