Memorial Day ‘Murph’ CrossFit challenge benefits Wounded Warrior Project

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Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan, is the inspiration for the Memorial Day ‘Murph,’ a CrossFit challenge to be held Monday, May 26 to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan, is the inspiration for the Memorial Day ‘Murph,’ a CrossFit challenge to be held Monday, May 26 to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. WILDWOOD-- On one of the biggest party weekends of the year at the Jersey Shore, Jim Grauel wants people to remember what the Memorial Day holiday is all about.

So while hundreds – thousands? – of people are still in bed or lying on their living room couches Monday morning in the Wildwoods because they’ve done too much holiday weekend partying, approximately 50 people will be fighting through a most grueling CrossFit workout – all in the name of charity and the memory of soldiers who died while on active service.

Grauel has organized the Memorial Day “Murph” workout challenge to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project, a nationwide charity that, according to its website, raises awareness and money for the needs of injured service members.

The event will be held 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Monday, May 26 on Morey’s Adventure Pier in Wildwood.

The Murph is a CrossFit workout made famous by Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in June 2005 in Afghanistan after knowingly exposing himself to enemy fire during an attempt to gain a clear signal to communicate with headquarters after his unit came under fire. Despite his wounds, Murphy returned to his unit’s location after making contact with headquarters and continued to fight until he died. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States military’s highest decoration, for his actions.

Often lacking exercise equipment while in Afghanistan, Murphy developed what he called a “body armor” workout that featured a 1-mile run, 300 air squats, 200 pushups, 100 pull-ups and another 1-mile run – all while wearing a 20-pound weighted vest.

“This was something he would do while he was deployed and had no gym equipment around so he could keep in shape,” Grauel said.

The workout is performed at many CrossFit boxes around the world, especially on Memorial Day, oftentimes as a fundraiser for military-related charities.

Grauel, 35, a 15-year firefighter in Wildwood and a resident of Wildwood Crest, came up with the idea to host a Murph event with some of his workout friends while watching “Lone Survivor,” the Hollywood film based on Murphy’s experience.

“It was my idea, but it was a group effort,” Grauel said. “We’ve done the workout the past few years at my gym, so we thought about doing a Murph as a fundraiser for Wounded Warriors, and the project snowballed from there.”

Early registrants paid $35; the fee for late registrants and day-of-event registrants is $45 and $50, respectively, to perform the Memorial Day challenge. Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. Grauel said he hopes to raise at least $1,000.

He said some of the registrants are expected to be able to complete the demanding workout. Others will come close, while still others may struggle. That part, he said, doesn’t matter.

“We’re putting on this Murph as a challenge,” said Grauel. “When people have signed up, all we ask is that they leave the boardwalk that morning knowing they have challenged themselves more than they’ve ever done. If someone can only do one pull-up, we want them leaving Adventure Pier having done three pull-ups. If they’ve done the full workout in 50 minutes before, we want them leaving the pier saying they did it in 45 minutes. It’s all about the challenge.”

He said the best thing about CrossFit is that everything can be scaled to meet an individual’s needs.

“We’ll have bands for people who can’t do a pull-up without help and things like that. As long as they leave there giving it their all and doing better than they initially thought they could do, then it’s a huge success for everyone.”

Grauel said many local businesses are sponsoring the event, which is the first-ever organized CrossFit workout on the Wildwoods boardwalk. Some of the most invested ones include Morey’s Piers, Kindle Ford, Wildwood Firefighters FMBA Local 50, Elite Public Adjusters/Cape Island Restoration and Jersey Shore Adventures.

Grauel said he hopes to make the Memorial Day Murph an annual event.

For more information, including registration details, see or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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