The Broncos hosted Denver's 2015 DEA Maltz Challenge, a tough workout to honor fallen soldiers.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — What started as a workout to honor a close friend's memory has rapidly expanded to an international event for friends and families of fallen soldiers to remember those who were killed in action.
"We just had a mutual desire to honor the fallen and we come from a military and law-enforcement background for the most part and as a result of that, we didn't know a better way of doing than the four of us were fitness-oriented people," said DEA Special Agent Todd Gregory, one of the challenge's founders. "And so as a result of that, we came up with our own exercises and that's how it is."
The Broncos hosted a local Maltz Challenge for the third straight year, organized in part by Gregory.
With about 70 people in attendance at Friday's event at the Broncos' indoor gym and turf field, they were ready to put their bodies through a rigorous, grueling workout in the memory of those close to them, as well as three local honorees: U.S. Army Captain Russell B. Rippetoe, Staff Sergeant Robert R. Pirelli and Captain David I. Lyon. In all, there were 33 honorees this year, the ninth year of the event, and all military branches were represented.
"It just means a lot to me because soldiers get forgotten and the families feel like they've been forgotten, and a lot of times you read about the person on the back page of your local paper and that's the last you hear of them," said Gregory. "And so when we approach the families, they are very grateful and thankful that we're able to recognize them in this manner."
Every year the challenge seems to grow, especially since it grew an online presence, but it all began with Master Sgt. Michael Maltz, a longtime pararescue specialist who received a long list of accolades for his service.
"Michael Maltz, he was a P.J. [pararescue member] in the Air Force and he was our first honoree and then every year we get nominations from around the country from our DEA offices and from that, that's how we get our list of honorees and so most of them, and they come from all branches of the military," Gregory said.
The challenge consists of eight parts. Participants begin with a 400-meter run, followed by 50 pullups, a 100-meter fireman's carry or 200-meter farmer's walk, 50 dips, 100 pushups, 50 knees-to-elbows, 100 situps, and then it's bookended by a final 400-meter run.
Though the workout took people through some extremely tough physical endeavors, ultimately it was a time to reflect and show gratitude for the men and women they cannot forget.