Secret Graduate Donation Springs UCD Athletics into the Future

29 Sep 2022

On Wednesday September 28th, a sense of gratitude was in the air as an enthusiastic crowd of over 150 students, staff and community members gathered in great anticipation to witness the official and long awaited opening of the New UCD Athletics Track.

Professor Mark Rogers, Acting UCD President got proceedings underway by stepping out on the immersive blue tartan track and welcoming all in attendance.

He alluded eloquently to the support and vision of the donor ; "A graduate of UCD, our donor has given the University the largest single donation in sport – this donation has covered the cost of this 8-lane 400m IAAF synthetic track and its maintenance for 20 years. On behalf of every student, staff, graduate, runner, thrower, and jumper who steps onto this track, I thank our donor for this extraordinary gift and for placing your trust in our vision to transform lives and strengthen communities". Thereafter, acknowledgement for all who worked tirelessly in the background to make this vision a reality filtered through the microphone. Closing remarks highlighted the community feel which was present throughout the afternoon’s ceremony "UCD is a great university and our students and our community deserve great facilities. This track - perfectly blue to match our colours is a wonderful addition to the campus and I invite our community to don the spikes or runners and run!"

An excellent and engaging Q&A proceeded thereafter, facilitated by James Nolan, UCD Athletics Officer, with UCD student Athletic Club captains, Bori Ankinola and Lucy Barrett.

The student’s insight into how the Track will impact their everyday lives and lives of future athletes to come hit home deeply with attendees. Bori described the demands on his current schedule "yes, it can be demanding, however I now have everything on campus that will help me with creating the balance I need. Having everything here will lower my injury risk heighten my session quality and recovery also. Yes, I am really focused on athletics but am also aware that in 10 years’ time it will be my education that will sustain me for life.” Lucy drew on the future "it is the final piece in the Jigsaw, UCD has always been a hotbed for athletics talent. We have the campus jogging trails, 5 gyms, 50m pool and recovery suite, on campus physio and testing lab, elite coaching and now we have this amazing track. I believe we now have everything required to excel across all areas from Participation to Olympic level.''

Speeches concluded with Professor Finabrr McAuley, UCD Athletics Club President, taking everyone back in time with memories of old whilst highlighting the importance of Today’s new beginning for the Club. Although the rain was heavy, spirits remained high as the University’s Acting President, Professor Mark Rogers officially cut the ribbon and announced the new UCD Athletics Track Officially open to all.