12 Aug USA Track & Field Foundation awards Adopt an Athlete grant to Rebecca Mehra
PITTSBURGH – The USATF Foundation is proud to announce the newest member of the Adopt an Athlete grant program, 1500m runner – Rebecca Mehra. The Adopt an Athlete program gives donors and fans of track & field a unique opportunity to support an individual athlete in a discipline they are passionate about. The funding for the Adopt an Athlete program changes the life of an athlete while simultaneously helping elevate the sport.
The funding for Mehra’s grant was donated by generous and passionate fans, Randy and Nancy Paynter. This pivotal support from the Paynter family provides incremental funding to the athlete and allows the Foundation to further move the needle on its mission. “We are happy to have been able to support such an elite athlete such as Rebecca, whose commitment to excellence inspires us all. Her star shines bright, and provides a beacon for younger runners looking for a bit of inspiration during today’s uncertain times.”
Mehra spent her college career at Stanford, where she battled injuries throughout her undergraduate career. Regardless of the struggles, she was still able to produce impressive results and times at a high level. It wasn’t until her 5th year where she really turned heads and realized her potential as a professional athlete. With a 6th place finish at the 2017 NCAA Championships and a nearly 6 second personal record, Mehra quickly gained notoriety, and signed with Oiselle. In 2018 she moved to Bend, OR where she currently competes for the Littlewing Athletics team and is coached by legendary runner Lauren Fleshman.
Not only is Mehra a stand-out athlete, but like most Stanford graduates, she is an outstanding member of her community. Equipped with a degree in International Relations, Mehra was hoping to work in public policy, and had experience working in various policy roles including at the United Nations and the US Department of State. After graduating, she had a job lined up with a venture capital firm but couldn’t pass up the opportunity of running professionally.
Mehra’s story is a perfect example of how the USATF Foundation’s Adopt an Athlete program can have a positive impact on an athlete’s professional journey. While on her way to a 1000m time trial, Rebecca received the information that she would be receiving this grant. She was equally surprised and thrilled that she received a grant at this level. Shortly after, Rebecca ran a personal record in her time trial, fueled by her excitement. Rebecca has enjoyed the new relationship with the Paynter family, forming a bond with Nancy’s daughter, who is a distance runner at the high school level. Rebecca has embraced the opportunity to be a mentor, and emphasized the fact that this grant has not only helped her fund her training and recovery, but helped her build lasting relationships that shape both her character, and the young athlete she is mentoring.
“I am very grateful to the USATF Foundation for this opportunity, and all that they do to support elite athletes in our sport. The Adopt an Athlete grant is so unique, and I am excited to be paired with the Paynter family, and have the chance to get to know and mentor Lucy!” exclaimed Rebecca Mehra.