Chico fire to host Navy SEAL-inspired workout to benefit Matthew Axelson Foundation

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By Almendra Carpizo



Chico fire Capt. Ryan Fellers demonstrates pull-ups for the “Murph” workout — a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air-squats, followed by another one-mile run — which will take place June 28.


CHICO >> Inspired by the ultimate sacrifice of a local man and his SEAL team, a group of Chico firefighters have set out to complete and organize a grueling workout to benefit the Matthew Axelson Foundation.


Members of the Chico Fire Department earlier this year read the book “Lone Survivor” and felt the need to increase awareness about its local ties, Chico fire Capt. Ryan Fellers said.


“Lone Survivor,” which was written by Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, recounts the mission of four Navy SEALs, including himself, who were in a hellacious firefight in Asadabad, Afghanistan, in June 2005. The team, which included Chico resident Matt Axelson, was ambushed and Axelson and two others lost their lives during Operation Red Wings.


The firefighters had planned to do something small to honor the memory of Axelson, but they instead decided they wanted to help raise funds as well as bring recognition to the foundation’s namesake.


The Chico Fire Department receives a lot of support from the community and the department wanted to pass it along, Fellers said.


Fire Department personnel began thinking about the possibility of an event to honor Axelson about three to four months ago, but it was in the last month that plans came together.


On June 28, Chico fire will host the Operation Red Wings Memorial Workout, an intense CrossFit-inspired workout called the “Murph,” which is said to have been regularly done by the Navy SEAL team.


The “Murph” is named after Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who was the leader of the four-man SEAL team during Operation Red Wings.


Fellers reached out to the Matthew Axelson Foundation and was able to get in contact with Axelson’s wife, Cindy Axelson, Fellers said. Cindy Axelson works for Nor Cal Strength and Conditioning and they got on board.


Chico fire wants to bring people together for one day to recognize the men that paid the ultimate sacrifice, and hosting the workout seemed appropriate, Fellers said. It will show how hard they trained and what “elite warriors” they were.


The pain people may feel during the workout is nothing to what the SEAL team went through, he said.


The workout includes running and hundreds of pull-ups, push-ups and squats.


The workout is extremely tough, but people shouldn’t be discouraged from trying it, Fellers said. People will be able to participate in whatever portion they feel they can do or for as long as they feel comfortable. An “elite” heat will allow those who feel up to the challenge to complete the workout while wearing a 20-pound vest, just like the SEAL team did it, he added.


The event, which is free, is not about having to do the workout, is meant to get people out to support a local hero, Fellers said.


Fellers and other Fire Department members will be completing the taxing workout and they hope many people come out to join them.


There will be food by Hunter & the Farmer and Chico fire was looking into getting a bounce house for kids.


Anyone with questions on the event, can contact Capt. Ryan Fellers at 520-1149. To register as a four-person team or an individual, go to and click events. Registration is free, but donations are accepted.




The Murph workout:


one-mile run


100 pull-ups


200 push-ups


300 squats


one-mile run


When: 9 a.m. June 28


Location: NorCal Strength and Conditioning, 629 Entler Ave., Chico


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