The exhausted but elated men who took the top three spots at the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games sat at the post-Games press conference, eating hard-earned Dominos pizza as they waited for the first question.
Then it came: "What did each of you think was the hardest workout of The Games?"
The podium athletes didn't take turns explaining their individual struggles. The answer was quick and unanimous: "Murph," all three competitors—Ben Smith, Mat Fraser, and Bjorgvin Karl Guomundsson—said with a cringe followed by a knowing laugh.
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Murph only requires a 20-pound weight vest. But it's designed to throw you into the pain cave and let you suffer there for as long as you let it.
The timed workout—where you wear a 20-pound weight vest throughout—goes like this: Run one mile, then do 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and then run another mile. The winning time was just under 39 minutes, while 10 percent of competitors failed to meet the 55-minute time cap.
It's a brutal event named after Navy SEAL Officer Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan and received the Medal of Honor for his heroics in Operation Red Wings (his story is told in the book and movie "Lone Survivor"). The workout was Murphy's favorite—he performed it while wearing heavy body armor while deployed, and it's since been named in his honor.
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"My strategy was to not go too hard in the first run," said Guomundsson who took 1st place in Murph and 3rd place overall. "From there I just tried to keep a good pace."