We've always been particularly careful not to push our children into running. 

I’m acutely aware that it’s not for everyone; for a lot of youngsters there needs to be a purpose to run. 

I spent the first half of my life running after a ball and I certainly wasn’t in to running at school. I did notice though that whenever we did cross country during term time that I was a lot more mobile as a midfielder on the football pitch (funny that eh...). 

But of course, Logan, 5, and Lara, 9, see that running is now a huge part of life in the Armstrong household.  

It’s only natural they want to see what all the fuss is about having been dragged to numerous races here and there. 

There has been the odd junior parkrun here and there with Lara particularly enjoying the trip to get a doughnut after Lea Bridges parkrun... 

Logan meanwhile is a competitor. He hates the thought of anyone being better than him at anything, including me. 

So, when we lined up for the Thetford Santa Dash 5K on Sunday, I delivered a little pep talk beforehand. 

The essence being... 

5K is a long way; if you need to walk then that’s totally okay. 

Let’s start slowly and see how we feel later on 

Don’t go off too fast! 

Enjoy it! 

After a bonkers warm-up which involved a conga and a lot of dancing (perhaps we should offer this before each Sportlink Grand Prix race...) I lined up on the start line with Logan and my wife, Alison, with Lara. 

Eastern Daily Press: Lara Armstrong at the Thetford 5K Santa run

It was clear that the ‘don’t go off too fast’ advice had gone in one ear and out the other although I couldn’t help but smile as he waved at some unsuspecting members of the public through Thetford. 

However, about 1.5km in, Logan was starting to struggle a little and we walked for 30 seconds or so. 

This allowed some of my Wymondham AC club-mates to catch up with us... and this seemed to flick a switch in Logan’s little head. 

Eastern Daily Press: Logan Armstrong and Mark Armstrong in the Thetford 5K Santa run

He started to settle into a nice pace and the penny dropped that you can’t sprint 5K (I wish I had learned this sooner in my running journey). 

I was still a little concerned and thinking ‘surely we’re going to have a walk-break soon’. But we were clipping along nicely with Logan seeming a lot more comfortable. 

His desperation to keep ahead of my fellow WAC-ers was more than enough to keep him going. When a few of them started to tell him how well he was doing then there was no stopping him. 

There was even time to stop and pick up a 'Heroes' chocolate from one kind supporter, which he stuffed in his pocket for after. 

I kept talking to him and during the last kilometre there was a brief moment he wanted to hold my hand, which is a sign that he was finding it hard. I reassured him that we were nearly there and he powered up the final hill as fast as his little legs would take him. 

As we came towards the finish line he instinctively held out his arms in celebration and he took the acclaim of the other runners around him. 

He clocked in at 28:29 and only a few seconds after he was diving into the mini Wispa he’d picked up on route. 

He’d earned it; there’s nothing quite like a post-run snack, is there? 

Logan then proceeded to tell me how he ‘thinks he came fourth and won his age category’. I wasn’t going to burst his bubble – he'd just run a time that most adults would be extremely proud of. 

Meanwhile, Lara and Alison came in shortly after in 35:35 and most importantly there were plenty of smiles. 

Perhaps one day, our children will be the ones pacing us. I still don’t think Logan would let me ahead of him though...