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Perrysburg gym members take on Memorial Day tradition of 'The Murph Challenge'

To honor and remember our fallen heroes, some put in a bit of pain and sweat.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — As we remember the men and women who gave their lives for our country Monday for Memorial Day, some people celebrated a fallen hero in a unique way.

It's a decades-long workout known as "The Murph," dedicated to heroes who have served. It's completed every year on Memorial Day.

"It's an honor to represent the veterans and give back to a good cause and kind of show our appreciation for what they did to our country," said Vault Health and Fitness coach Adam Dunckel. "It means a lot."

The Murph was named after Navy Lt. Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.

He was known for doing an extreme workout: one-mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, then another one-mile run. 

Nearly two months after he was killed, CrossFitters around the country completed the workout on Memorial Day, naming it The Murph.

People are still doing the tradition today, honoring Murphy and other veterans.

Some even do it to prove it to themselves.

"We do it for a good reason: for Memorial Day and we have no idea what our heroes have gone through, so they're always in the back of my mind," Vault Health and Fitness coach Erin Higgins said. "But this one specifically, I always feel like I try to beat myself every year."

Members of Vault Health and Fitness in Perrysburg took it one step further this year by donating money to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

That brought out even more participants.

"My wife passed away in 2019 from leukemia," Karen Recker said. "So, I did this in memory of her."

The Murph Challenge is described as more than just a workout. It's a tradition that pushes people past what they think they're capable of. It allows us the opportunity to dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor not only Murphy but also loved ones who have served. 

"Kind of doing it for them. I know the hard work they put in every day and it's hard," Jason Rager said. "So, something to honor them by is great."

"Anybody who's in the services obviously we're thankful for what they do or thankful for them protecting us and keeping us safe," Courtney Rager said.

To veterans everywhere: thank you.


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