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Muhammad Warriors start 13th season with gold and silver

By Donna Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Jun 27, 2019 - 11:52:17 AM

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“Train the Warrior Way” is the motto of the Muhammad Warriors Track Team. Photos by Donna Muhammad

MEMPHIS—Train the “Warrior Way.” This is the long-standing motto of the Muhammad Warriors Track Team under the direction of Coach Cornelius X. The team began their 13th season in 2019 walking away with gold and silver medals at the Rochelle Stevens Invitational Track Meet.

Since its very beginning, Coach Cornelius, saw it as more than just a track team for the youth of Muhammad Mosque No. 55, but as a fishing tool for other youth in the community. “We always had an open door,” he said. “We were never just ‘we’re going to have this for the mosque children, only.’ It was fishing. Our children were growing up in the Nation of Islam, with certain behavior, and that behavior became attractive. Now we have children on our team that have never stepped foot on a mosque property, but they are saying ‘As-Salaam Alaikum,’” he explained.

“We never told them to say it.  They’ve been saying it for about the last three years—they’ve been on the team for five years, but three years ago, they just picked it up. ‘As-Salaam Alaikum, Coach,’ that’s how they greet me every day.”

(l) Lydia Muhammad, 40, earns gold medal after competing in a race for the very first time. Ms.Muhammad won 1st in the 100m race at the 2019 Rochelle Stevens Invitational Track Meet. (r) Participants of the Muhammad Warriors Track Team from previous years.

(l) Coach Cornelius X (center) Salimah Rudgely, competes in shotput event at Rochelle Stevens Invitational Track Meet. (r) Elijah, 24, is a 12-year veteran of the Muhammad Warriors Track Team.

When Coach Cornelius invites people to participate, he lets them know that the team is the Muhammad Warriors. “Some may ask what does Muhammad mean, some may not. They see the way that our children behave at the track practice and that is attractive to the parents. Every year, I don’t have to go searching for anyone, they willingly coming back year after year because they love our program,” he explained.

Since its inception in 2006, a majority of the youth at Muhammad Mosque No. 55 have participated on the team, including Elijah Muhammad, 24. Mr. Muhammad joined the team at the age of 12 and went all the way to National Competition in the 1500 meters in his first year. Now a college graduate, he still competes with the Muhammad Warriors, and provides assistance to Coach Cornelius.

At the beginning of 2019, Coach Cornelius, expanding upon the track team,  introduced a new program called “Force x Distance” to further promote fitness and the Teachings of How to Eat to Live by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. “It pains me to see our people in the condition they are in. I sometimes go to the grocery store and it pains me to see the lack of mobility our people have,” he said.

“I see the quality of food that they are purchasing and it really pains me and I really wanted to develop a program that would help not only the Believers, but our people in general. I want to see our people get better and physically fit. With my program, it’s not just exercise— its diet, its mindset. I just recently had a program in the month of March for high school students, athletes, and our key word was “mindset.” Changing the mindset, as far as your diet and other things. That is what inspired me to start Force x Distance. We have boot camps, we have fitness challenges, fitness goal programs and Insha’Allah (God-willing) we will be growing. We are growing,” he added.

After being one of the first participants in the Force x Distance Training Program, Lydia Muhammad, 40, a long time Muhammad Warrior track parent, made her running debut at the Rochelle Stevens, earning a gold medal in the Master’s Category (ages 40 and up) for the 100 meter race.

For more information on the Muhammad Warrior Track Team, Force x Distance training regimen or to support the athletes, please visit and  force_x_distance on Instagram and Facebook.