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Mooy vs MacDonald

How the Windsor 5K became the setting for the year's biggest grudge match

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
July 26, 2017

WINDSOR, N.S. – The trash talk is almost over. Almost.
   On Saturday, July 29, the idyllic Hants County community of Windsor will be the setting for not just its 16th annual 5K fun run, but also a grudge match that has rocked the Nova Scotia running community to its core.
   It all started when Luke MacDonald met John Mooy a couple of years ago. Mooy started up the Mountain View Runners club with a couple of other runners, including Stan Sarty, who MacDonald describes as his “puppeteer.”
Shown here are just a few examples of the back-and-forth war between MacDonald and Mooy on social media during the past few months.
   “I started hanging around down there to find out what these guys were all about,” said MacDonald, an affable shoe fitter with a zest for charity work. “John has a pretty terrific sense of humour, if you call that humour. We found out we were actually fairly close.”
   The friendship soon took a sideways turn, however, when Mooy, a talented Photoshop enthusiast, made MacDonald the subject of some of his efforts.
   Mooy insists they were harmless.
   “Who doesn’t like being Photoshopped singing with Justin Bieber? Or running from a zombie?” he asked. “Apparently Luke. He was getting ‘annoyed’ by them. I thought they made him look cool.”
   The tensions escalated at last year’s annual Osprey 5K race in Riverport, where MacDonald finished 13 seconds ahead of Mooy, who retaliated with a few more Photoshops.
   The past few months have seen the two go to war with each other on social media, with video taunts, doctored photos and verbal jabs. There seemed to be only one solution. They had to race.
   Paula James, new co-race director of the Windsor 5K Fun Run, suggested they settle the score at the July 29 event, and they agreed.
   As James quickly found out, this is about more than a fun run.
   “The whole world’s at stake,” said MacDonald, who is calling it the Full Contact Windsor 5K Death Race. “It’s the world. If I see some other crazy little videos… this will be complete humiliation for me if some Photoshop artist beats me.”
   Mooy, who ran the Boston Marathon this year, said this would be the biggest race of his life.
   “Am I going to lose to a guy who, a few weeks ago, was hobbling around with a walker?” he asked. “I don’t think so. Luke’s had his day in the sun, but it’s time for him to hang up those fancy running shoes and put his feet up. On the 29th, his time will come.”
   MacDonald is positioning himself in the underdog role, claiming Mooy is a “decade or two” younger than him, and has improved his speed since that Osprey defeat by training with some quality runners. Meanwhile, MacDonald has focused on training for long distance bionic running, an activity that tightens the hamstrings and hampers conventional running.
   Mooy is confident enough to be open about his race day strategy.
   “I figure I will take it easy at the start, and let him think he’s got a chance,” he said. “I will then pick it up a notch and get him winded. Then I will start my patented ‘Mooy-mode’ finish and break him completely at the end.”
   That strategy could be his downfall, according to MacDonald, who said he would hang with him until the last 1,200 metres before leaving him behind.
   James refuses to pick sides between her two friends, and is clearly distraught over the implications of the race.
   “It’s going to be devastating,” she said.
   The race itself will have a new look this year, replacing its former hilly course with a route around Pisiquid Lake, a popular spot for runners in the area.
   Proceeds from the race will go towards Windsor Recreation, which handles programming for children in the area, and Valley Athletics, an all-ages track club that James coaches at.
   Registration numbers are looking good so far, likely double the number from last year’s 76.
   “We have almost 50 more than last year already, and hopefully we’ll have race day registrations too,” said James, last weekend.
   “John and Luke have done all my promo work,” she added, with a wink.
   When the dust clears, will the two runners bury the hatchet and resume their friendship?
   Not so, according to MacDonald, who already has a follow-up in mind for next year.
   “It’s going to be Windsor every year, and it will be the Death Race Challenge,” he said. “You have to pay the registration of the person you challenge. If you lose, you have to buy them lunch, like egg sandwiches or something.”
For more on the Windsor 5K Fun Run, visit here. For more on Mooy vs MacDonald, check out this video.