AN aspiring South Devon athlete is hoping to secure sponsorship as he pursues his Olympic dream.

Jamie Barnett, 19 and from Kingsteignton, is currently the UK’s fifth fastest half-marathon runner for his age and is now turning his attention to the full 26.22 miles.

But dreams of representing his country at Rio 2020 and beyond are being hampered by budget constraints.

The annual bill for his running shoes alone comes in at £1,000 and then there’s the cost of travelling to events.

And with few marathon experts in the area and a lack of facilities, Jamie’s training programme is largely homespun and carried out amidst traffic on the local road network.

Mum Liz and dad Nigel do what they can but Jamie needs extra help to reach the next level.

‘I started running when I was 12 or 13 but didn’t take it too seriously at first,’ said the teenager.

‘Then I entered some local races and started coming about half way in the field so decided I wanted to pursue things further.

‘I stopped playing football, joined Teignbridge Trotters and my times started coming down.

‘At the age of 16 I broke 40 minutes for the first time in a 10k and it was then I realised I wasn’t too far off the higher levels.

‘I did some research online and drew up a three-year training programme which has got me to where I am now.

‘But now I just need a bit of extra support. I know that with the right help I can make it to the very top.’

Jamie’s full-time training programme sees him running some 140 miles a week with no more support than some sports massage and advice from fellow Trotters.

He’s due to take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon next year and before that will treat October’s Sibelco Dartmoor Vale races as a training session.

‘I’m at a very early point in my running career but know I have the potential,’ he said.

‘Top marathon runners don’t mature until their late 20s or 30s and I can’t explain how much I want to walk out on to a track one day as part of Team GB.

‘If someone could just provide me with that little bit of sponsorship now I’m absolutely confident I can turn their brass into Olympic gold.

‘This is my dream, I so want it to become a reality.’

Jamie can be contacted through Teignbridge Trotters or on 07852 812106.