BANGOR – Crossfit gyms mark Memorial Day every year with “The Murph Challenge,” but this year it had to be done at a distance due to COVID-19.
In years past, Crossfit Bangor has been packed on Memorial Day with its members participating in “The Murph Challenge” and the 2020 version was one of the most unique yet. “Not doing “Murph” just felt wrong and we were constantly brainstorming on how to make this happen because it is so near and dear to our heart,” said Crossfit Bangor owner Melinda Metten.
The Murph Challenge honors the memory of Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a Navy Seal who passed away in 2005 protecting his team in the mountains of Afghanistan. The Hero workout consists of a one mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and another mile run; all in a 20 pound weighted vest. It can be broken up in to a team workout, or modified for different skill levels. Any way you slice The Murph, it is truly a challenge. “It’s definitely not a workout you just show up and do every year, it is sometime that we train for, and the programming that the coaches put on inside of the classes and inside the gym prepares you for that,” said CrossFit Bangor member Tony Laprino.
There wasn’t much in-person preparation this year, as CrossFit Bangor only reopened to small group workouts recently. Metten says it has been difficult staying connected with their community while complying with safety guidelines. “I can usually tell, or my coaches can usually tell when somebody walks through the door what kind of day they’re having, maybe they’re tired, maybe they’re just having a rough emotional day for whatever reason, maybe they’re angry, it’s really hard to pick that up through a computer screen,” said Metten.
Metten and her team will continue to follow state regulations as they begin to reopen from their temporary closure, but says the state’s one size fits all plan for gyms is frustrating. “We have ten thousand square feet of just workout space and when our people come in on a regular basis, long before all of the COVID and such has happened people get their own pull up bar, they get their own barbell, they get their own dumbbell, they’re so good about wiping their stuff down,” said Metten.
Ten people were on site to complete The Murph Monday morning, forty or more were on Zoom. A community still able to come together and honor a legacy no matter the circumstances. “It means more than just doing push ups and running, it has a purpose and its a staple across all CrossFit communities across the country,” said Laprino.