Fitness challenge honors

While many will pay their respects at local ceremonies and veterans’ cemeteries this Memorial Day, others may honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service, with a fitness challenge named in honor of one of their own.

Service members and civilians from across the country and beyond have joined together for several years to complete “The Murph Challenge” as a tribute to U.S. Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy Seal killed in action while serving in Afghanistan in 2005 and others who have died in service.

Tech Sgt. Shelly Pavcik, 911th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural technician, performs a mile run as part of the Murph Challenge at the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, May 18, 2022. The Murph Challenge is a workout challenge honoring Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in action, June 28, 2005; it is comprised of a mile run, 100 pushups, 200 situps, 300 squats and another mile run while wearing a 20-pound vest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert)

Murphy was killed in combat when he exposed himself to enemy fire to radio air support for his team. In recognition of his sacrifice, he became the first member of the United States Navy to receive the Medal of
Honor since the Vietnam War.

The challenge was a workout of the day or WOD for Murphy to prepare for the various challenges of war while serving, and now serves as a physical and mental challenge to those completing the workout in his honor.

The workout requires participants to complete a 1-mile run, then 100 pull-ups, followed by 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1-mile run, all while wearing body armor or a 20 lb. vest.

The challenge is not for the faint of heart, and participants are encouraged to train appropriately leading up to attempting the challenge.

Some installations have a day designated for those wishing to complete the challenge, and others are encouraged to complete it on Memorial Day, beginning at 7 a.m.

Today, the challenge also serves as a way to raise funds for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Scholarship Foundation, with more information available at

A 6th Ranger Training Battalion Soldier works to complete the 200-pushup regime during part of “The Murph Challenge” May 21 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The Soldiers came together to participate in the intense workout to build camaraderie and honor Medal of Honor winner, Michael P. Murphy just before Memorial Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)

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