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CrossFit Buffalo Memorial Day workout to honor fallen soldier

Lt. Michael P. Murphy died in Afghanistan a decade ago when his small unit was overwhelmed by Taliban fighters and he deliberately left the unit’s stronghold to get a better signal to call in reinforcements. The Long Island native was killed during the fighting, and posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

The movie, “Lone Survivor,” recounts his heroics. The Navy SEAL also is remembered by CrossFit buffs on Memorial Day with The Murph Challenge Workout of the Day (WOD): a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and another 1-mile run – all while wearing a 20-pound vest or similarly heavy piece of body armor.

“The workout takes most people about an hour,” CrossFit Buffalo co-owner David Rice said. “For at least a little while, you put yourself through a little bit of discomfort to remind yourself about the reasons behind the holiday.”

CrossFit Buffalo, at 3820 Union Road in Cheektowaga, will be among similar gyms nationwide to welcome people to join them for the challenge. For more info, visit or call 601-7300. Register at and receive a T-shirt; proceeds benefit the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

Q. People of all abilities will participate across the country this weekend?

Some of our members will scale it down to something that’s a little more conducive to their ability. They’re still getting a good workout with the same integrity of the original workout.

Q. Like most CrossFit workouts, is this a timed event?

Yes. You do it as fast as you can. Some people get competitive about it year to year, trying to beat their previous time. A lot of people do it just for the fun of it. I’ve heard of guys doing it without a vest in under a half-hour. I’ll guarantee it, there’s some freaks out there who could do it in under a half-hour with a vest on. We put a loose hour time frame on it and say, despite your best intentions, if you’re not done with it within an hour you may want to think about cutting your losses so you can actually move for the remainder of the week. We’ve gotten good at guaging where people are at and saying, “Here’s the various versions you can do.”

Q. How is the event going to unfold at CrossFit Buffalo?

On Sunday night, we’re going to do a screening (at 5 p.m.) of “Lone Survivor” at the gym. Immediately after that, anybody who wants to can do the workout. A few other coaches and I are planning on doing it then. That way, we can be more attentive and involved on Monday. Monday morning, we’re going to run groups every hour at 9, 10 and 11. After that, everybody’s welcome to hang around. We bring a grill outside. The gym’s going to provide burgers and dogs. We ask members and others to bring snacks and side dishes to pass, and BYOB. There’s no designated cost, but you should go to and get a T-shirt. The majority of the people who come here are going to be gym members or friends and family of gym members. Anybody is welcome to attend, come and watch or hang out and see the gym. If somebody is not a member, we leave it to our discretion about whether or not they’re going to do the workout. It sounds like an intense workout and a lot of people don’t have the sense about how intense it can get. If you’re not used to doing CrossFit-style workouts, we get very apprehensive about someone coming out and cutting loose. ... If you don’t look like you’re doing too well, we reserve the right to say, “Hey man, you need to cut this short.”


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