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This is going to be short and sweet. Sometimes less is more.

Memorial Day 2016 is behind us. It was an excellent weekend of camaraderie, time well spent with loved ones, and moments reflecting on those that gave their lives for our freedom. In gyms full of iron around the country it also meant doing a Hero WOD known as “Murph”. A brutal workout as tough as the Navy Seal for whom it is named, it has become wildly popular to do on Memorial Day (or Memorial Day weekend). Up until this year we had never done it at Athletes Unleashed.

At this point it gets a little tough to write my thoughts down clearly and concisely.

The things I feel I have to say don’t arrainge well into neat little literary gems that make people feel warm and happy inside. I just have to get on with it.

I refused to program the Hero WOD Murph because I felt doing a workout that was dedicated to one man on a day that belonged to so many thousands was just plain wrong. In fact, it flew in the face of the original intent of Memorial Day, then known as Decoration Day. General Logan, the man that established the holiday, was adamant in that neither the Blue nor the Gray were to be memorialized in manner more grand than the other. It is the reason he picked 30 May to decorate the gravestones of the fallen. With the anniversary of no battle being celebrated on that day, 30 May held no signifigance to either the North or the South. It made it the perfect time for the occasion. Over the years Decoration Day become Memorial Day, the federal holiday when we remember and celebrate all of our nation’s war dead.

I couldn’t get myself to do a workout dedicated to one man.

It sounds so shallow to say it out loud. I wonder how it will read?

For those that don’t know, Hero WODs are those workouts that are named after service members and first responders that have given their lives in service to others. Murph, DT, Badger, War Frank, Nate. There are, literally, hundreds of them. There could be thousands of them. And there in lies the rub. For every Murph, DT, and Badger, there are 100 stories of commendatory heroism that will never be known. Blasted away into eternity like wisps of expended cordite their stories wont ever be immortalized in a WOD because theirs were never officially recognized. Witnesses died, the battle raged on, or things got so god-forsaken and hellish that acts of heroism were the norm. Brother helping brother. Brother dying for brother. During WWII Admiral Nimitz said of the Battle of Iwo Jima, “Uncommon valor became a common virtue”. If he were alive today I’m sure he would hold the same opinion of some of the shit storms our men and women fought through in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for coming in on Saturday and doing the Hero WOD Murph. It was cathartic for me to be able to speak to you of the unnamed heroes. I saw your jaws set with determination and your eyes swell with patriotism and I knew this was not going to be an ordinary day. I quickly realized how extraordinary it was going to be.

Jambo was working through his final 1 mile run. He was on lap 2 of 4.

“Jambo! How are you holding up?” I shouted as he approached, shirtless of course, and in his 20lbs vest.

“I’m dying”, he said.

Before I could say a word he furiously spat out, “No I’m not! No I’m not! No I’m not!” In that moment I saw him grow at least another 4 inches taller, he picked up his pace, sucked it up, and ground out the final half mile with what I like to think were images in his head of faceless heroes kicking ass and taking names.

He got it. Everyone of you got it. Thank you for an amazing day. And thank you to every gym full of iron out there that did a “Murph” for all of our nation’s fallen heroes.

Semper Fi, Coach Robby


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