By Halle Thornton
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The fitness center will host The Murph Challenge 2018 May 11 in honor of U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in action June 28, 2005, while serving in Afghanistan.
Murphy created the challenge, a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 body squats followed by another 1-mile run, which athletes try to finish as quickly as possible.
The competition is held around Memorial Day every year to honor his efforts in recognition of the hardship he endured while serving his country.
In 2008, Brenda Lewis and John Rabb then with the 50th Contracting Squadron, approached Seth Cannello, fitness center director with the 50th Force Support Squadron, with the idea of hosting the event.
“Like a lot of our events, this event is used to motivate people to train harder so that they get into better shape,” Cannello said. “The feeling of accomplishment when you finish is similar to completing your first marathon or triathlon.”
First Lt. Kenneth Barber, tactics development officer with the 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, is participating in The Murph at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado for the first time after researching Murphy’s story.
“I felt the need to compete in his honor and I really believe in the cause,” he said. “What better way to honor someone than physically pushing yourself and fighting through the pain?”
Barber’s first experience with The Murph was at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where he completed the competition in an hour and forty-five minutes while wearing a 20 pound vest.
“Since I don’t have to wear the vest this time, I’m going for under an hour,” he said. “The last one mile run will be the hardest for me. I just have to carry the momentum. It will be the biggest fulfillment, pushing through the pain and finishing.”
Cannello said The Murph is a challenging event and is not something most people can do without a lot of pre-conditioning or training.
“Over the years, there have been people that have asked for modifications to the event, like pushups from your knees, or they want to use a pullup assist machine or rubber bands, but we don’t allow modifications,” he said.
Cannello added modifications would defeat the purpose of the event and he wants the competition to be the same for everyone.
Capt. Kyle Spitzer, chief of training with the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, is participating in the competition for the first time because he loves overcoming challenges and a training goal.
“Signing up for The Murph has forced me to train much harder than I did the few months prior to signing up,” he said. “I haven’t trained nearly as much as I wish I had, but I’ve been doing sprint intervals and sets of pullups and pushups in addition to some weight training.”
Both Cannello and Spitzer look forward to the competition and are curious to see who will come out with the best time.
“For years, Sam Bessinger dominated the event; however, he is no longer at Schriever AFB, so it’s going to be very interesting to see who will win this year,” Cannello said.
“I look forward to competing against other athletes and hope a lot of people turn out for the event,” Spitzer added.
This event is challenging for Airmen, and Cannello applauds all who participate.
“In my opinion, anyone who finishes should be proud of their accomplishment, and if you aren’t ready this year, you should make finishing The Murph your goal for next year,” he said.
For more information about The Murph and other upcoming fitness center events, call 567-6628.
The current Commander’s Cup standings are as follows:
First place: 4th Space Operations Squadron, 795 points
Second place: 50th Wing Staff Agencies, 395 points
Third place: 50th Operations Support Squadron, 350 points
Fourth place: 1st Space Operations Squadron and 50th Civil Engineering Squadron, 285 points