‘The Godfathers Last Stand’: 80-year-old Cape Breton runner plans to run Cabot Trail one last time
SYDNEY, N.S. -- The call him ‘The Godfather’ of the Cape Breton running scene, but 80-year-old Peter Hanna will tell you he’s just a regular guy.
“I never look for publicity….I appreciate them,” says Hanna.
Hanna earned the nickname ‘The Godfather’ through his countless marathons and triathlons, inspiring generations of Cape Breton runners with his endurance. Now he’s the subject of a new documentary.
The Whitney Pier resident will turn 81 in November. He didn’t start running until he was about forty, but he’s run too many races to count, including many Boston Marathons.
But his greatest accomplishment may have been finishing three Ironman triathlons, the last one at age 69.
“For me, it was always ‘the harder the race, the better the achievement’,” says Hanna.
Herbie Sakalauskas is a fellow runner and professional filmmaker.
He’s long been aware that the Godfather has one goal left – to make history by finishing all 17 legs of the Cabot Trail Relay Race… not just once, but twice!
“This would have been his year to complete all legs twice, to be the only runner to do that,” says Sakalauskas. “He’s just a local legend.”
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has cancelled the past two Cabot Trail Relays. So Hanna plans to head to the Cabot Trail this spring and summer to finish the job himself.
Sakalauskas will be filming him, as part of a documentary he’s calling ‘The Godfather’s Last Leg’.
Hanna says it will be his last leg, and his last stand, as age and health issues have slowed him down.
While he still runs five kilometres most days, he says when it comes to competing, he’s reached the end of the line.
“It is, most definitely. Actually, If I didn’t have a chance to run those other two legs, which I’m hoping I can do, that would be it,” says Hanna.
While the pandemic may have robbed Hanna of running his last two legs in the actual relay, it’s given Sakalauskas time to work on what should be a fitting tribute.
“He’s a real inspiration,” says Sakalauskas. “Not just to me, but to everybody who meets him.”
As for what Triathlon Pete plans to do once he’s conquered the Cabot Trail?
“Just keeping my low profile, get up in the morning, and be thankful that I can get out for my few runs,” says Hanna.
Wise words, from a local legend, whose remarkable life on the roads will soon be captured forever in film.