CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- An intense fitness challenge gave people more than just strength and endurance training. The mentally and physically challenging workout was a time for people to honor those lost lives in the protection of freedom.
Benelux community members gathered in the Chièvres Fitness Center at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, June 2 and dedicated their afternoon to completing the Murph Challenge.
The fitness challenge was named after Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEAL officer who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 and became the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the Medal of Honor -- the highest decoration in the U.S. military -- since the Vietnam War.
Army Lt. Col. Marco Ciliberti, Kathy Kane Friend and other members of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe(SHAPE)'s CrossFit Aspis team decided to put the event together so the community could pay tribute to Murphy and other fallen service members in a unique way.
"The event gives our international community in SHAPE and Chièvres a chance to participate in a mentally and physically challenging event," said Ciliberti.
"It brings us closer together as an alliance."
The challenge required participants to do the "Murph" workout that consists of an one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats and a final one-mile run. Participants did the full or half workout while partitioning and scaling the routine to their physical ability.
Simone Carney, a preschool coordinator at the SHAPE Community Chapel, embarked on the full "Murph." She felt empowered by Murphy's heroism to finish the grueling challenge.
"The 'Murph' hits home especially when you're in the military and know that so many people put their lives on the line daily to protect us," she said. "Lt. Murphy's heroic acts saved his SEAL team."
In addition to the CrossFit Aspis team, volunteers from the SHAPE Healthcare Facility, Chièvres Fitness Center and American Legion supported the event by providing first-aid support, refreshments and encouragement to the participants.