On the road and on the run: 80-year-old Cape Breton runner the subject of a new documentary


Peter Hanna, the 80-year-old known as 'The Godfather' of the Cape Breton running community, is the subject of a new documentary.

With the loosening of COVID-19 travel restrictions in Nova Scotia, the film crew was able to get rolling and Hanna was able to get running.

Anyone travelling along the Cabot Trail on Saturday saw the octogenarian running along the side of the highway in high-20 degree heat. There was a reason for it.

The documentary is called 'The Godfather's Last Leg' and gives a step-by-step chronicle of Hanna's attempt to finish the nearly 300 kilometre-long Cabot Trail relay race for a second time.

"With the loosening of restrictions, we were able to go out and follow the proper protocol," says filmmaker Herbie Sakalauskas. "We were able to capture Peter finishing leg six."

The terrain is difficult for anyone, let alone a man who will turn 81 in November.

The hills of the Cape Breton Highlands keep on coming and the temperature wasn't doing Hanna any favours.

"The hills didn't seem as steep the first time I did it," says Hanna.

More than 17 kilometres later, Hanna was finished. Now, there's quite literally, just one final mountain to climb.

"The last part's going to be the big part of the documentary when he actually goes back to finish the last leg, which is leg 17," says Sakalauskas.

The plan, for now, is for The Godfather's last leg to be run on July 31st and the filmmaker is asking Hanna's friends to come to line the Main Street of Baddeck at the finish.

"We're going to hope that these restrictions keep loosening so that more people can come out and watch him at the end of leg 17, cheer him on," says Sakalauskas.

Meanwhile, the t-shirts Hanna and friends are wearing in the documentary are being sold with the money going to a good cause.

"All the proceeds are going to go towards the cancer centre here in Cape Breton," Sakalauskas says.

The documentary has also been picked up recently by Bell Fibe TV 1. The hope is it will air sometime in 2022.

"This is something he really wants to do and, like he said himself, this is his last leg," Sakalauskas says.

"He really wants to be able to complete all the Cabot Trail twice and I'm just happy to be there to help him do it."

With the running work now half over, Sakalauskas says all that's left is to save the date when the local legend crosses his last finish line.