Race History

In October 2003, Larry Warren – a missionary with African Leadership – inspired Ellie Ambrose with stories of African children and families who did not have the ability to meet basic needs. Ellie, only 10-years-old at the time, was moved and began praying for God’s direction for how she could make a difference in the lives of these families.

In June 2004, Ellie’s prayers were answered and Ellie’s Run for Africa was formed. Ellie’s dream – a 5K race and family fun day featuring African dancers and carnival-like games – became a reality.

Determined to do everything she could, Ellie ignited a passion for Africa in her community and raised over $40,000 with the first two race events. In 2006, Ellie and a team of volunteers led by Barrett Ward began the HEROES program – a fundraising and educational effort. Ellie’s Run for Africa sent speakers into local churches and schools to raise awareness of the needs of African families and children.

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Now in its fifth year, Ellie’s Run for Africa has accomplished the following:

  • Raised over $155,000
  • Helped put over 420 kids in school by providing them with necessary items – books, uniforms and shoes
  • Helped build classrooms and laboratories at a school located in Kibera, Kenya
  • Helped build a vocational school in Kenya – where students can learn and develop a trade
  • Donated funds for medical supplies at Mercy Children’s Clinic in Kenya and the Living Hope Clinic in South Africa to help Africans suffering from dehydration, malaria, starvation and HIV/AIDS

Ellie’s Run for Africa’s motto summarizes the organization’s goal: “Dream Big. Take Action.”

For more information on how to become a HERO. To make a donation. If you have any questions, please e-mail [email protected]


Ellie’s Run for Africa is the God-given dream of a young American girl to help families and children in Africa.  Combining educational efforts in area churches and schools with a 5K run and family fun day, Ellie’s Run for Africa raises awareness of and funding for Africans who struggle to meet basic needs such as health care, food, water, shelter, clothing and education.

Nearly three years ago, a child in Nashville was inspired to help other children – whom she had never met – across the ocean on a continent where she had never been. Stirred by the stories of hunger and disease told by Larry Warren, a missionary with African Leadership, that child – then-10-year-old Ellie Ambrose – began praying about and listening for God’s direction for this vision. Soon after that Sunday morning in October 2003, she believed that God was telling her “to go for it.”

With her dream – which included a race complete with “lots of fun kid’s games for my friends who don’t like to run” – Ellie was able to round up enough adults to help her start Ellie’s Run for Africa. Held in Nashville, Tennessee, the first event (2004) fulfilled the vision of Ellie’s prayers and heart and featured a 5K race, African dancers and a host of carnival-like games and activities.

She held the second event exactly a year later, featuring all of the same activities as the year before, in addition to 1-mile races for kids and a special performance by Jars of Clay. With God’s help and Ellie’s persistence, Ellie’s Run has raised approximately $40,000 that has been used to help accomplish the following:

  • Outfit hundreds of students with the shoes and uniforms that they need to attend school;
  • Build four classrooms at the school located in Kibera – one of Nairobi’s worst slums;
  • Donate funds for medical supplies at Mercy Children’s Clinic in Kenya and the Living Hope Clinic in South Africa to help Africans suffering dehydration, malaria, starvation and HIV/AIDS.