University College Dublin (UCD) will once again have a running track, six years after the original was ripped up – thanks to an anonymous donor.

The €3 million cost of the new track-and-field facility will be completely paid for by an “anonymous philanthropist”, who will also generously cover the maintenance costs for the next 20 years.

The original track was laid 40 years ago at the Belfield end of the UCD campus and closed in November 2011 due to health and safety concerns. It’s successor, an eight-lane IAAF approved track, will be located at the Sports and Recreation Character Area of the 158-hectare UCD campus, alongside the existing sports centre, 50m Olympic size swimming pool, state-of-the-art gymnasium, the national hockey stadium and the UCD Bowl.

UCD President, Professor Andrew Deeks said: “The lack of an athletics track on the campus has put additional pressure on our athletes, some of whom have had to commute daily between campus and off-campus facilities for their training sessions.

“We are grateful to these athletes and to the wider university community for their patience. The University always aspired to have a world-class athletics track as part of the university’s overall sporting facilities, but lacked the funding to deliver on this aspiration.

“We are extremely grateful to the anonymous philanthropist who stepped into the breach, and whose generous donation will now fully enable the track project and the maintenance of the track for the next twenty years, after which the university is committed to maintaining the track.”

“Our entire university community owes an enormous debt of gratitude to this donor, and to all donors to the University, for the remarkable generosity that is enabling us to transform the teaching, research and sporting facilities on campus for this generation and for generations to come.”

The university will now move forward with the design, planning and development of a new athletics track.