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Memorial Day workout honors Navy SEAL

Juno Ogle Photo Yazmin Soto, left, does pullups while Siria Perlingos, right, performs squats and Rocio Melendez, center, judges Monday during Roswell CrossFit’s Murph Challenge at the home of the gym’s owner, Richard Ramirez. The Murph Challenge honors Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.

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Throughout a cool Monday morning in a Roswell neighborhood, about 65 people pushed themselves through a workout in honor of a Navy SEAL killed in battle 15 years ago.

Known as the “Murph,” the Crossfit Hero Workout of the Day is performed on Memorial Day and consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and another 1 mile run. Participants often do it while wearing a weighted vest — 20 pounds for men or 14 pounds for women.

“This is the workout that he used to perform,” Roswell Crossfit owner Richard Ramirez said of Navy Lt. Michael “Murph” Murphy.

Murphy died in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005 at the age of 29 while leading a four-man SEAL team on reconnaissance near the Pakistan border. It’s believed local residents alerted Taliban forces to their presence, and the team was surrounded.

Murphy left cover to get a clear radio signal to request support and was shot multiple times. Despite his wounds, he finished his call and continued fighting until he died. Only one member of Murphy’s team survived.

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His body was found days later, on July 4. Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor, the Sliver Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

Roswell Crossfit, 4501 N. Main, has been doing the Murph Challenge for about five years, Ramirez said.

This year, it’s a little different, as the gym has been closed due to the state’s health orders.

Sunday night, Ramirez moved some of the equipment from his gym and set it up in the driveway of his home on North Garden Avenue.

As music blasted from speakers set just outside his garage, this year’s participants — working in small groups through the morning — did the exercises, taking small breaks in between circuits.

Even with the closure, Ramirez said about 10 more people than last year participated. Many of them are members of his gym, but some were also members of local law enforcement or were veterans themselves.

“Every year we have a mix of firefighters, law enforcement and military personnel. Of course, a lot of gym members, a lot of family and friends. It’s diverse,” he said.

Funds raised through the registration fees benefit a memorial foundation in Murphy’s name that awards scholarships and is constructing a Navy SEAL museum and learning center. Ramirez also uses it as a fundraiser for his own foundation named for his mother, Angie Ramirez, which supports teachers undergoing cancer treatment.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.


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