Over the Memorial Day weekend, my wife Mary Catherine and I completed the Murph Challenge. The Murph Challenge is an annual fitness event and tribute workout that honors Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL who lost his life in combat in Afghanistan in 2005. This formidable challenge entails a demanding sequence of exercises: a one-mile run/ruck, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another one-mile run/ruck. The original workout was designed to be performed while wearing a 20-pound weight vest. Beyond being a physical test, the Murph Challenge serves as a profound way to honor Lieutenant Murphy and all those who have served in the armed forces, commemorating their sacrifices.
CrossFit PTC owner Ric Thompson invited us to join his crew to participate in this grueling event. Celebrating his 15th year in business, Ric is an outstanding example of a veteran who has continued to serve our area through business and community leadership. Similar Murph Challenges occur across the county every year during the Memorial Day Weekend. Proceeds from the Peachtree City event benefited two excellent local non-profits: The Eden Project, a support foundation for veterans, and the Coco’s Cupboard Tails of Hope service dog training program.
Although I was familiar with the Murph Challenge, this was our first time taking it on. People from all walks of life representing a wide range of ages participated in the event. At 55 years of age, I wasn’t the oldest person there, but I was certainly above the median age. Although I consider myself to be in reasonable physical condition, this was definitely a tough challenge. You already know from the title that we finished the challenge, but it wasn’t easy.
Here’s a short one minute video montage of our Murph Challenge experience.
So, here’s why we completed the Murph Challenge and some reasons you should too:
Provides an opportunity to achieve success beyond money: As business leaders and non-profit executives, a significant portion of our success is often measured by our ability to navigate challenges and attain financial objectives. However, in our community, there is no shortage of wealth and ostentatious displays of affluence. True leadership extends beyond the confines of boardrooms and spreadsheets. The Murph Challenge embodies qualities such as strength, determination, and a commitment to personal growth. Every once in a while, it’s gratifying to accomplish something that doesn’t come with a monetary return on investment. Completing the challenge will undoubtedly leave you with a sense of accomplishment (and perhaps some muscle soreness).
Builds fortitude through physical challenges: Engaging in intense workouts like the Murph Challenge not only enhances our physical strength but also cultivates mental resilience. By conquering physical challenges, we train our minds to overcome obstacles, maintain focus under pressure, and embrace discomfort. These qualities directly translate into our leadership roles, empowering us to tackle difficult decisions, adapt to changing circumstances, and inspire our teams to reach new heights of achievement.
Gives us the opportunity to embrace sacrifice and honor service: The Murph Challenge goes beyond being a mere fitness endeavor; it serves as a powerful tribute to the sacrifices made by our brave servicemen and women. By participating in this challenge, we pay homage to the memory of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy and all those who have selflessly served in the armed forces. It instills within us a profound sense of gratitude and serves as a reminder of the core values that underpin our society—courage, selflessness, and unwavering dedication. As business leaders, we have the privilege to lead by example, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to honoring and supporting those who safeguard our freedoms.
Fosters camaraderie and team spirit: Participating in the Murph Challenge offers a distinctive opportunity to cultivate camaraderie and team spirit among all participants. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a community golf tournament (and I’ve participated in my fair share of them), it would be truly inspiring to witness more business and community leaders uniting to take on a challenge such as this. By bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds, the challenge fosters a shared sense of purpose, rallying participants towards a common goal. During our local challenge, we experienced an incredible sense of shared purpose as we toiled together towards our individual goals.
Promotes growth and resilience in our community: By undertaking the Murph Challenge, you embody a growth mindset that consistently seeks new challenges and embraces the power of continuous improvement. This commitment holds incredible potential to inspire and uplift individuals facing adversity in profound ways, particularly within the veterans community. Aside from Ric and myself, we were privileged to witness many other veterans participating in the challenge. Taking on this formidable test symbolizes resilience, serving as a reminder to struggling veterans that the pursuit of self-improvement and the pursuit of excellence extend far beyond their active service.
Supports worthy causes: The tipping point that led us to register for this year’s challenge was the knowledge that our efforts would provide financial support to two exceptional non-profit organizations. I began this list of reasons with the mention of money, and I’ll conclude it with the same. There’s certainly nothing wrong with attending black tie charity events to raise funds—we, too, actively participate in such events and will continue to do so. However, the Murph Challenge offers a unique and special way to contribute to worthy causes. Instead of simply donating money to attend a fancy dinner, we willingly paid money to have the privilege (and it truly was a privilege) of pushing ourselves physically and breaking a sweat! It’s an opportunity that goes beyond monetary donations and allows us to actively engage in physical exercise while supporting causes close to our hearts.
As I write this article, I’m still sore from the weekend – but it was worth it. Our community needs to see it’s leaders not only in tuxes and gowns, but also in the front leaning rest position (the push-up position). As business and community leaders, we have the opportunity to inspire others, support worthy causes, and honor the sacrifices of our servicemen and women. By embracing the Murph Challenge, we cultivate resilience, foster camaraderie, and exemplify a growth mindset that extends beyond the boardroom. Let us continue to push our limits, uplift those in need, and embody the spirit of determination and service. Together, we can make a lasting impact, both in our own lives and in the lives of others.
[Joe Domaleski, a Fayette County resident for 25 years, is the owner of Country Fried Creative – an award-winning digital marketing agency located in Peachtree City. His company was the Fayette Chamber’s 2021 Small Business of the Year. Joe is a husband, father of three grown children, and proud Army veteran. He has an MBA from Georgia State University and enjoys sharing his perspectives drawing from thirty years of business leadership experience. ]