Dubois County gym participates in annual Memorial Day workout: ‘Murph’

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Published: May. 30, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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DUBOIS CO., Ind. (WFIE) - When the clock inside of Southern Indiana Complete Fitness beeps, the athletes take off on their first of two one-mile runs.

It’s the first step in their Memorial Day “Hero Workout”, “Murph.”

After the mile run, they’re tasked with 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 air-squats.

Once that’s done, they’ve got another mile run. Many of the participants wear weighted vests through the entire workout, and that’s by design.

Athlete Austin Kempf says there’s a rhyme and reason for the extra work.

“His buddies in combat wanted to make a workout in honor of him, and I guess to make it more challenging, they left their body gear, body armor on,” says Kempf, “so that’s where the weighted vest comes in.”

The hero that Murph is named after is Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan.

One of SIC Fitness’ part-owners, United Stated Marine Jim Stone, says the workout can be modified to fit any skill level, because what’s really important is understanding why you’re doing it.

“The workout isn’t as important as the, you know, giving the effort,” says Stone, “it’s really to honor Lieutenant Michael Murphy who died on a hill in Afghanistan in 2005. The workout is named after him.”

Not only do the participants get to break a sweat, they also enjoy the added benefit of community.

Many of the gym-goers children joined in the workout on Monday. Kempf’s wife even brought their infant along so that she and another new mom could perform air-squats with them in tow.

As Stone put it, the workout is hard, but it’s what brings them together in honoring and remembering their heroes.

“The ‘Hero Workouts’ are typically pretty hard. They’re pretty tough, but it’s a way to honor those people, and a little bit of suffering on our part to not even match but to honor them and what they did, their service,” says Stone.

Stone and Kempf aren’t newbies at this either, but the workout still left the two panting and soaked after.

“I would say this is probably at least my sixth or seventh time. I try to do it every year, I don’t think I’ve missed a year yet,” says Kempf.

Stone says that he started participating in 2008, and has done a Murph almost every year.

“This will be my tenth ‘Murph’ overall,” says Stone.

The “Murph” is only one of many of the “Hero Workouts,” but it’s notoriety and it’s fame has made it one of the more well-known ones.

Stone says the workout has thousands of participants each year, and not even just in the U.S.

SIC Fitness alone had 50 participants.

The message behind it is why the athletes keep coming back, year-in and year-out.

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