Local CrossFit athletes accept Murph Challenge

May 27, 2019 07:25 PM

COLONIE - There was a lot more going on at the CrossFit of Albany headquarters in Colonie on Memorial Day morning besides pullups and squat thrusts. Every ounce of sweat represented a drop of patriotism.

The exercise regimen was carried out with military precision, and given the reason, you'd expect nothing less.


"I think it is a really good way to honor soldiers who have fallen," said Laura Gallery of Niskayuna.

The fallen soldier being honored is Lieutenant Michael Murphy, the US Navy Seal whose heroic tale was chronicled in the movie "Lone Survivor."

"This is our largest class that we do," said Shye Evan, the owner of CrossFit of Albany, "Normally, we have maybe about 20 people in a class. Today, we have close to 100 people."

They were workout warriors on a mission, determined to accept and accomplish Murph's Challenge. At oh-ten-hundred hours, they were all briefed, and their assignments were quickly carried out.

"Because of the fact it's honoring a fallen soldier, people find it a really worthy effort to push themselves for a hard workout," Evan pointed out.

The workout began with a one-mile run, then 100 pullups, followed by 200 pushups, and then 300 squat thrusts. After that, another one-mile run, during which many wore 20-pound weight vests strapped to their bodies.

"A workout like this, you're meant to push yourself," said Dan Reisner of Loudonville, "I know today I got challenged and I didn't want to come in and wear a weight vest today, but everybody said, 'You know what? The guys (soldiers) out there are fighting harder than what we're fighting so you can step up and work harder on a day like today.'"

"At least I'm not on a battlefield," said Laura Gallery, of Niskayuna, "I'm doing it to honor someone who sacrificed a lot more than me."

While riding a stationary bicycle, Gallery realized she'll be able to do something Michael Murphy never got to do.

"I'm going home at the end of the day," she stated.

That's a reminder that the Murph Challenge isn't so much about perspiration as it is about perspective.

"When I'm out there grinding and my legs are throbbing, I think to myself, I don't have any reason to be upset about my legs hurting me a little bit because I'm running," says Jared Paul, of Latham, "These people went through a lot more pain and suffering than we did, so it gives me that extra boost to just keep hammering."

In the last five years, the Murph Challenge has raised more than $1 million. Part of the proceeds will go toward a US Navy Seal Museum on Long Island near where Michael Murphy grew up.


Dan Levy

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