by Allison Deutschman
Many Americans celebrate Memorial Day by attending parades and enjoying cookouts. Starting in 2013, Brandon Hall, Lewiston police officer and second lieutenant in the New York Army National Guard, decided to "honor our heroes in a not so traditional way" by participating in The Murph.
This intense physical challenge is made up of a one-mile run to Kiwanis Park from the eternal flame at Academy Park in Lewiston, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and a one-mile run back to the eternal flame.
Select participants Hall and Alex Ruckh, lieutenant for Upper Mountain Volunteer Fire Co., first lieutenant in the New York Army National Guard and an Afghanistan veteran, completed the conquest wearing a 20-pound vest.
After finishing The Murph Challenge alone at the running track at Lewiston-Porter in 2013, Hall recruited three more participants for this year.
Mike LaDuca, owner of Luminus Media in Buffalo, and John Ebos, a scientist from Canada who works at Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Institute were among the new partakers.
Why participate in such an exhausting and trying activity?
"They gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us and our country, the least we can do is honor them by trying to push and improve ourselves with a bit of sweat." Hall explained.
Among those being remembered during The Murph was Lt. Michael Murphy, the Navy SEAL in charge of Operation Red Wing, and namesake for the challenge.
Murphy perished in 2005, serving his country, protecting his four-man SEAL element in Asadabad, Afghanistan.
In 2007, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Scholarship was founded.
"We honor his sacrifice and memory through The Murph Challenge." Hall concluded.
For more information about Michael Murphy, visit www.murphfoundation.org.