SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
In the realm of superstitions, it looks like Friday the 13th has nothing on Lucky Number 7.
Sam Bessinger came within seconds of setting a new base record en route to his seventh consecutive win in The Murph competition here Friday.
His winning time of 23:24, just 13 seconds away from the record-setting time he posted in 2012, was more than six minutes in front of Rodrigo Ocampo, 29:38, and well ahead of Adam Hockert, 35:02.
“The year I got the record, I remember my supervisor was running in uniform around the track with me yelling at me to run faster,” Bessinger said. “If I had that extra push this time, I think I would have been able to do it.”
For the first time since 5-time champion Brenda Lewis won in 2013, a repeat champion was crowned for females as Jessica Trundy took home top honors for the second straight year.
Trundy improved her time from 2015 by more than six minutes to finish in 43:45. Ana Shockey, 49:32, finished second and Krystal Conkling, 67:50, took third.
“Last year, I had only been at Schriever for approximately three weeks,” Trundy said. “The altitude was a big adjustment. Being fully acclimated and back on a regular training routine allowed me to perform much better this year.”
The Murph consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 body squats, followed by another 1-mile run. The runs were performed on a treadmill last year due to renovations at the indoor running track. This year, the entire event was held at the indoor running track.
Both Bessinger and Trundy said the venue didn’t have an impact on their approach to the event.
“The approach was the same,” Bessinger said. “Although it has been renovated, the event has been held there a few times in the past.”
Trundy has a special attachment to The Murph, an event named after U.S. Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, who created the workout, but was later killed in action while serving in Afghanistan in 2005. Her husband is now a member of the unit that attempted to rescue Murphy and his fellow SEAL team members. That unit lost eight Soldiers during the rescue attempt when their helicopter was hit by RPG fire.
“About three quarters of the way through this year’s event a close friend cheered me on saying, ‘Keep pushing, remember why you’re here,’” she said. “This workout is a tribute to Michael Murphy and two other SEAL teammates, as well as 16 members from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment who made the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Red Wings. It is a great test of fitness and a great event to partake in, but I do it to bring honor to those 19 men.”
Despite having only one close call in the competition, Bessinger doesn’t take his wins for granted.
“You never really know,” he said. “(Functional fitness) is becoming more and more popular every year, so you just never know who is going to pop up one day and destroy the competition.”
In fact, a poor functional fitness performance actually served as motivation for Bessinger this year. He participated in the CrossFit 16.4 Open Announcement tryouts in March, but his time was well short of his goal.
“What really motivated me this year was the CrossFit competition we had on base,” he said. “I did terrible. I wasn’t in shape and it made me upset.”
On the other hand, Trundy was able to carry over her impressive performance at the Open Announcement into the Murph. Bessinger said he could see her matching his winning streak if she continues to compete.
“She’s one of those individuals I alluded to who is really into (functional fitness) and it shows in her ability to do the Murph so well,” Bessinger said. “She definitely could (match my winning streak).”
For more information about The Murph, or other monthly fitness events, contact the fitness center at 567-6628.