Limit Break – Murph

CrossFit, as it is called, has become a major popular thing to do in modern day sports. It’s said to be derived from military US Navy Seals training and alike. In any case, it can be summed up to and be explained as constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. Each training program lasting for about 20-40 minutes tops. It’s a damn thrill if you do it for real with another partner. You’ll be breaking your own made-up physical and psychological limits in no-time.

Enough said.

I got a short story to tell. This is about a man who was known as Leuitenant Michael P. Murphy, usually nicknamed ‘Murph’.

He was a Navy SEAL Officer who served in the War in Afghanistan. He was sent on several different missions within the country against terrorists and Taliban leaders. During 2005, he and his SEAL team (consisting of four people, total) participated in what was called Operation Red Wings. During this operation, his team was assigned for surveillance and reconnaissance tasks in the mountains in the Kunar Province. There, a taliban group known as the “Mountain Tigers”, let by Ahmad Shah had taken residence to conduct illegal activities and plan terrorism. It was said that Osama Bin Laden also held a refuge there from time to time.

The mission was, in the end, a complete failure.

 Upon their arrival, a local goatherder stumbled upon their hideout. Knowing the risks, they debated wether to actually kill him should he alert the taliban of their presence. They voted within the group and the majority voted to let him go, taking the risk. A risk that had fatal consequences. Within the next hour, Murphy and his team were completely surrounded by over 150 insurgents. A fierce battle broke out. In the firefight at hand, Murphy himself risked his life to make radio contact with his superiors to call for an evacuation. He was hit by bullets several times during the process and died shortly thereafter. A CH-47 Chinook appeared in the midst of the fighting, carrying 16 US soldiers bound for the rescue mission. But in a matter of seconds, an RPG (rocket propelled granade) was fired from the taliban side, hitting the the helicopter – whereas it crashlanded and killed everybody inside.

Three of the four team members were killed, and the only survivor, Corpsman (Medic) Marcus Luttrell, was left unconscious with a number of fractures and other serious wounds. He would soon regain consciousness and evade the pursuing enemy for a whole of three days in the mountains, with the help of local Pashtun villagers, who would eventually send an emissary to the nearest U.S. base to secure his safe release, and ultimately save his life. Marcus later wrote the bestselling book known as Lone Survivor, which takes the story above into account in much more detail.


In any case, the man known as Murphy was awarded, in his absence, the highest ranked medal in the US – The Medal of Honor – for his services in Afghanistan. Later on, the military has named about 2 or 3 places after him. But one of the biggest things between soldiers that he is remembered for down in Afghanistan to this day, is the Murph Challenge.

The “Murph” is a sort of a CrossFit session you can do. It’s a prestige to have done it at least once, and if you do it in less than 45 minutes, you gain a patch that says “MURPH”. It is said that Murphy did this sort of training once a week while he was in service. That’s way of the chart of being sane if you ask me.

The Murph Challenge consists of:
1 mile (1,6 km) run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 squats and ends with another 1 mile run.
Do all this with your protective gear (10,5 kg) on you.  Since it all comes down to doing it as fast as you can, while a guy next to you got the clock on your ass, it sure gets to you. For me, it was one of the most f***ed up things i’ve done, physically, in a short time. Worth noting is that I have a brother that did it in 29 minutes, which is “sick-ass” if you ask anyone around. I did it in 40 minutes and 31 seconds.
I would never intentionally brag about something. I hope no one thinks about it that way either. I’ll congratulate myself and i’m proud that I even managed it.
In the end, I think it’s a hell of a good way to honour and remember a man who has passed away.
May the force be with him, and all who dare to complete this challenge.

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