University to Run With Eight-Lane Track

February 07, 2012 - News Release

A grassroots fundraising effort to build an international-calibre track and field facility at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium has reached its $1-million goal.

The University has revised its planning for the stadium project to now incorporate an eight-lane International Athletic Federation-certified track in Alumni Stadium.

“I have been overwhelmed by the response to the call for support,” said Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs).

“This has become an extraordinarily exciting project. Hopefully by this fall, the stadium will have a whole new look, with a turf football field surrounded by a high-quality track. The enhancements will be a benefit not only to Gryphon athletics but also to the community. The new facility will allow the city and University to host internationally accredited events.”

Dave Scott-Thomas, head coach of U of G’s track and field and cross-country teams, said donations have come from elite athletes, community members, alumni, family, friends and businesses.

“We’ve had hundreds of different people coming together to support this; it really is a giant spectrum we’ve tapped into,” said Scott-Thomas, who also heads the Speed River Track and Field Club for student and local runners — the most successful running club in Canada.

Begun two weeks ago, the fundraising effort was headed by John Marsden, chair of the Canadian Centre for Running Excellence in Guelph. News of the initiative has spread by word of mouth and postings on running websites. Among the hundreds of donations was one from former Gryphon runner Reid Coolsaet, who pledged $10,000 of his winnings from the Scotiabank marathon in Toronto last year.

“Donations were coming in quickly at the end, and we passed the $1-million mark late yesterday,” Marsden said. “There were some who were unable to free space in their budget within our short fundraising window. We will continue to build these long-term relationships as the Guelph track project continues.”

Last month, the University announced a $1.5-million anonymous donation toward installation of a new synthetic turf field and to begin track and lighting renovations under the athletics master plan to upgrade all the University’s athletic facilities. The total estimated cost of the improvements is $4.9 million. The University said it will seek additional funding from private donors, grants and other sources to cover the remaining costs of the projects.

Tom Kendall, director of athletics, said: “This has been an outstanding fundraising effort by the track community. Their efforts over the past few weeks will ensure that they have a quality training and competition facility for many years to come."

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1