Thai CrossFit Box Dedicates Hero WOD to Seal Who Died During Cave Rescue

CrossFit is an organization — some would call it more of a movement — with tremendous respect for the military and law enforcement officers, which is why one of the sport’s best known traditions is the Hero WODs, or Workouts of the Day.

The best known is almost certainly “Murph,” the workout named after United States Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed by Taliban forces in 2005. (Dwayne Johnson did it with John Krasinski this year on Memorial Day.)

Sometimes, as is the case with Memorial Day Murphs, Hero WODs are intended to help raise money for a charitable cause. Following this week’s rescue of twelve Thai schoolboys and their soccer coach from Chiang Rai’s Tham Luang cave, there have been calls for a new WOD dedicated to the only person who died during the operation.

Thirty-eight-year-old Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan delivered oxygen tanks to the trapped boys and their coach but ran out of oxygen for himself on the trip out of the cave system. CrossFit Chiang Mai is launching their own Hero WOD dedicated to the man and on August 11, anyone and everyone is invited to participate.

8 Rounds for Time

13 Deadlifts (185lb/125lb)

17 Wall Balls (20lb/14lb)

400m run

There’s some symbolism here:

The Saman Hero WOD will include running 3.2 kilometers — the distance the boys and their coaches were into the cave. Each round will include 13 deadlifts, representing the 13 people that Saman gave his life to rescue, and 17 wall ball repetitions, representing their 17 days underground.

At the time of writing it’s been confirmed the WOD will be performed by athletes as far flung as Holland, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Canada, and all over the United States — even members of the Royal Thai Navy themselves will take part.

All the funds received will be donated to Gunan’s widow Waleeporn Gunan. If you’re interested in taking part, keep an eye on the Facebook group, where instructions on how to donate will be posted in the coming days.

Featured image via @abc7ny on Instagram and Noppa Bosri via Royal Thai Navy SEAL


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.