by Pat Crosby


Please take 2 minutes to read a story of “WHY” I am encouraging everyone to participate in the Memorial Day Challenge, Murph event, at the Vikings Training Center in Mendota Heights.

Those newer to CrossFit, and specifically SISU, may not have an understanding of what the Murph is all about.

In 2005, Lt Michael P. Murphy, Seal Team Leader, was killed during a recon mission called Operation Redwing. Three Seals died that day, and one, Marcus Luttrell, was captured by the Taliban.  Lt Murphy received a Medal of Honor for his heroic actions that day by putting himself in the line of fire in an attempt to save his TEAM. He made the ultimate sacrifice.

“The Murph” workout – 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups & 300 air squats followed by another 1-mile run, all performed while wearing a 20lb tactical vest – was coined by CrossFit in honor of Lt Murphy, it was his favorite workout. Every CrossFit gym in the world programs Murph on Memorial Day. 

In 2014, CrossFit was still fairly new, and I saw an opportunity to start a fundraiser event around the Murph. The idea was to create a neutral venue that would foster a collaborative Minnesota CrossFit culture by organizing all gyms to participate and raise money for a good cause, and the Murph was a perfect workout with which to do it.  

In 2014, CrossFit SISU founded an event called the Memorial Day Challenge.

It took a coordinated TEAM effort of SISU volunteers to make it happen. As I reflect on the event that first year, I am actually surprised we kept it going. I remember our biggest challenge was to convince the City of Excelsior that it would be a good idea to have Navy Seals Skydive into The Commons in Excelsior as 500+ athletes listen to the National Anthem while watching them land! It took some convincing of the City Council from Navy Seal Isaiah Maring, but we got approval. 

After success with the city, I needed to find a pull-up rig. We had no money to buy one, but I was able to find a company out of North Dakota called PRx Performance. The only catch was I had to go pick it up, then deliver it back after the event on Tuesday. 

We had an army of people available on Sunday before Memorial Day to unload, set up and get ready for the event while it poured rain almost all day on Sunday. The Monday forecast also called for rain. We had coordinated a Seal Team to parachute into the ballpark during the National Anthem. The cloud ceiling was below the allowable altitude to jump for most of the morning, and we thought for sure the jump was going to get washed out. It came down to the final seconds, the pilot was circling for over an hour waiting for the clouds to shift and was about ready to call it when the clouds started to move and everything opened up!

Everyone looked up into the sky as the Seals brought an American Flag down with them, landing on the baseball field just as SISU member Catherine Chicoine was wrapping up the National Anthem! It could not have turned out any better at that moment. There were 25 CrossFit gyms that attended that first year, and we had over 500 athletes complete the Murph that day.

Just like that, the Memorial Day Challenge was born. Shawn & Caroline Sailer, owners of The Brost Clinic, have been members since SISU opened in 2010, and they have supported this event every year since 2014 and have donated well over $30,000.00 through the years to keep it going.

As you can imagine, it’s a daunting event to organize, and after 5 years of SISU stewarding the event, we paid it forward to the owners of FitHaus. FitHaus kept it alive through some rough years and even kept it alive during Covid. The only requirement given when SISU passed it to them was that they had to run it rain or shine until they found someone to steward it forward from them! Well, they came through in a very big way!

A new company called Frameworks has taken it over. Frameworks organizes the CrossFit Games, The Rogue Invitational, Wodapalooza, Granite Games, and many other events and is a national company, creating more exposure.

It’s an honor and a privilege to see this event continue to do great things and for that reason, I would like to gently challenge everyone to participate this Memorial Day.

Steve Brandt of Panoramic Wealth Advisors has graciously offered to buy everyone a t-shirt and a SISU patch for signing up!

We were also given a discount code to be used at registration! 

CODE: CFSISU-MDC23   LINK TO REGISTER: https://www.memorialdaychallenge.com 

Under SISU’s stewardship, we donated $100,000.00 to military charities.  Let’s bring a SISU Army and show our support!


Pat Crosby

P.S. If you already signed up, email me at pat@crossfitsisu.com, and I will get you $10 back!!!