“I’m glad that Jay has touched all of your lives like he has touched ours,” said his widow, Corinne Ingram, at the closing of the second annual Coach Jay 5K event Sunday morning.
With the help of many area sponsors and lots of support from Jay Ingram’s former players, students, family and friends, the event at the NASA Quest soccer fields off Hawkins Store Road was a success.
“I was very pleased with all the support and I think everything went better than I thought it would,” said event coordinator Dean Harris. “We here at NASA have a special place in our hearts for Corinne and her family and will continue to support them.”
Jay Ingram was a girls coach and director with the Kennesaw-area NASA organization.
The “Yeah Baby” 10K, 5K and “Mohawk Mile” were held to raise money for Corinne Ingram’s family and the nonprofit organization Kate’s Club. Harris isn’t sure how much money was raised yet.
Corinne Ingram said she chose Kate’s Club has a second benefactor from the event because it’s been such a blessing for her family.
“It helps kids grieve the loss of a parent or a sibling … and (is) free to those kids and families to participate in the activities,” she said.
It’s been the most beneficial to her 9-year-old son, Aiden. “He was having a hard time really relating to (a private counselor),” she said. “She recommended this place as being a different option for him because he could be with kids who are his own age to talk about it instead of just with an adult.”
While Aiden Ingram has only been going to the program for three months, Corinne said she’s seen a difference in her son already.
“Being able to talk about it and what he does in the programs has just been amazing,” she said.
Corinne also spoke to why a 10K was part of this year’s event. Last year there was only a 5K and mile walk.
“He never ran a 5K,” she recalled. “He started running and the first thing he did was a 10K.” She said her late husband only began running for exercise in 2010.
“He was a soccer player all his life and would always tell me, ‘I only run to chase a soccer ball,’ so I could never get him to go out and run with me,” she said.
One night after not getting a lot of playing time in during one of his men’s soccer games, Corinne said her husband decided to go for a run with her.
“He was hooked from that night on,” she said.
This year’s 10K overall winner in the women’s division was Nancy Meck and in the men’s division David Parsons. The overall female 5K winner was Beth Old and the male was Steve Sorkin.
There wasn’t a winner in the Mohawk Mile, named after Jay Ingram’s famous hair style, but a large number of children, including his daughter, Kailyn, 5, and many of his former Kennesaw Charter School students and players, participated.
Among them were about 16 young ladies that played on Jay Ingram’s under-12 soccer team last year. “I had a lot of fun,” said Dodgen Middle School seventh-grader Sydney Bhandari.
Francesca Burke, 13, also walked and spoke more about what she missed about “Coach Jay,” as they called him. “If you would do something wrong, he wouldn’t get mad or anything but he would work with you to figure out what happened and figure out how to fix it,” she said. “He was just a lot of fun.”
They all said they missed their coach dearly and as a team, chose to help raise money for the benefit by creating what they called “Jay’s Jars.”
They collected spare change around their homes in the month leading up to the event and earned about $500.