2020 has been a tough year on all fronts. While all have been affected in some way by the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and all the unrest attached — not all have been shaken.
Each Memorial Day, the courageous, brave, and fit, come together around the world to partake in The Murph Challenge. Memorial Day 2020 was no different despite the world being much different.
The Murph Challenge is a workout of the day (aka WOD) that raises money and awareness for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
Gone but not forgotten, Michael Murphy was an American Navy SEAL who was awarded the Medal of Honor — the military’s highest decoration — for his work in the War in Afghanistan.
Every Memorial Day, supporters of the troops worldwide honor Murph’s memory by pledging sweat and money to do his timed WOD as a tribute. Cali BBQ was an official host of the Murph in 2020.
The Murph Challenge workout
- One Mile Run
- 100 Pullups
- 200 Pushups
- 300 Squats
- Another One Mile Run
Feeling extra brave? You can do all that in a 20lb vest or body armor!
Yearly Fundraiser by FORGED
At the heart of The Murph Challenge are Michael Sauers and Samantha Bonilla, the Veteran power couple behind FORGED Clothing. The entrepreneuring pair were also previous guests on the Cali BBQ Media podcast “Digital Hospitality”.
“Our personal goals heading into this year’s Murph Challenge were the same as our personal goals every year heading into The Murph Challenge,” says Samantha Bonilla.
Over the course of the last six years, the FORGED family has been incredibly active in their philanthropy through fitness.
“Since 2014, FORGED Clothing has raised over $1,000,000 for the Foundation,” notes Samantha. “This year, our goal was to raise more than $250,000 in order to help the Foundation finalize construction on the LT. Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum in West Sayville, New York.”
That goal still remains in focus.
Sadly, the global pandemic sharply slowed sign-ups this year.
However, it hasn’t halted it.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 had a severe impact on the 2020 Murph Challenge participation and registration,” Samantha tells us. “Every year, gyms and organizations are able to sign up as Murph Challenge Official Hosts which gives them the opportunity to host an Official Murph Challenge event at their gym or organization’s location. Because national, and international, mandates came down ordering all gyms to close down or enforce a 6-foot social distance policy, it prevented gyms from being able to host Murph Challenge events and also prevented individuals from attending and participating in Murph Challenge events at their local gyms.”
Having gyms, events and other locations register to host The Murph Challenge is a major part of how scholarship money and awareness are raised.
“Since the purchase of individual and Official Host registration packages are how we raise funds for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, COVID-19 directly affected our ability to raise funds this year considering many gyms were closed and many individuals did not have a place to perform The Murph Challenge,” Samantha shares.
Slowed but not shaken, never underestimate the spirit of a soldier.
Visit The Forged online shop to get your official 2020 Murph Challenge shirts, hats, patches, and flag.
“Despite the challenges COVID-19 created, we still had a very successful Murph Challenge year,” says Samantha. “Many people found ways to adapt and overcome in order to perform The Murph Challenge workout, and they were still very supportive in helping us raise money for the Foundation.”
Adapting meant new hosts rising to the challenge despite the unprecedented times.
“This year, we had the support of more than 200 Official Hosts around the world,” shares Samantha Bonilla. “To include the wonderful crew at Cali BBQ.”
While low and slow barbecue restaurants may not typically be associated with high intensity workouts, the relationship FORGED’s Michael Sauers and Samantha Bonilla have with Cali BBQ’s Shawn Walchef provided a way to help promote this year’s Murph Challenge.
“Shawn Walchef and the entire Cali Comfort BBQ team have been incredibly hospitable in spreading awareness for The Murph Challenge this year,” says Samantha Bonilla.
“Shawn and his team went above and beyond by offering a free rack of ribs to anyone who registered for The Murph Challenge under the Cali BBQ Official Host name which was monumental in helping us increase overall participation and registration, thereby increasing donations to the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.”
“I’d been training for it for about two months,” said Josh Palet shortly after finishing the Murph Challenge 2020.
“Shawn’s always in the community trying to help out other restaurants, which I think is amazing. He always wants to be the guy to help others when he doesn’t have to be.”
Heading into 2021, both Josh Palet and Shawn Walchef have high expectations for The Murph Challenge participation at Cali BBQ as a host location.
“Next year, our goal is to have 25 people to do the Murph Challenge,” says Josh Palet about the very spirited Cali BBQ host team. “We have a big team that’s here and it’s going to be all over Instagram and Facebook.”
The adversity all participants overcame to complete the Murph Challenge in 2020 is one for the record books.
For, Shawn, Samantha, and Josh, the participation they expect headed into 2021 could be an all-time high.
“We are so proud to have Cali BBQ as part of The Murph Challenge team,” Samantha said. “We can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year’s 2021 Murph Challenge event!”
Around the world, tons of unlikely heroes are honoring the hero that was LT. Michael P. Murphy by becoming hosts and participants in this amazing event.
“The Foundation awarded 32 scholarships in 2019 and two new scholarships at the start of this year,” notes Samantha. “There will be more awarded throughout the year of 2020 and years to come.”
“Since 2014, The Murph Challenge has grown exponentially and has become not only a national event, but a global event. It’s incredible to see countries all over the world come together to honor LT. Michael P. Murphy and keep not only his legacy alive, but ALL of the fallen heroes we lost on June 28th, 2005 during Operation Red Wings.”
Even in adversity, the legacy continues.
So, ready for 2021? By now you’re probably breathing heavy just thinking about all that training. Lucky for us, Michael Sauers gave us a few tips on how to best complete and prepare for this heavy duty WOD.
Tips to Prepare for The Murph Challenge
1. You don’t have to do everything in a row
Know someone who can do 100 straight pullups? Us neither. While it’s recommended to do the runs as a whole, you can bounce around with the workouts to best complete it and beat fatigue.
2. Don’t get intimated by it, break it down
Again, all those pushups, pullups and squats in order are intimidating AF. Your best bet? Break down those portions. For example, refining the workout into 20 sets is how Mike gets the body weight exercises completed. And trust, he’s a pro.
3. Bring a notepad — Brain starting to hurt?
Record your sets and reps while you do it. No one can remember all those reps and sets in their head while putting their mind, body and soul through such an intense WOD.
4. Work your way there
Not there yet on pushups, pullups or squats? Practice with amended versions — like pushups on your knees — so you’re eventually ready to do a whole Murph Challenge. 2020 might be the spark to have you all the way there in 2021.
The Murph Challenge 2021
Are you ready to commit to participate or host The Murph Challenge in 2021? Gyms, businesses, and organizations are able to directly support The Murph fundraising efforts by registering to become an Official Host of The Murph Challenge 2021 and onward at TheMurphChallenge.com.