Domenic ‘Mico’ Valeriote

Mico Valeriote

Portrait by Robert Howson

Mico Valeriote loved to run.

Born in Guelph in 1914, he lived with his parents on Elizabeth Street growing up with his six brothers and three sisters. Valeriote focussed on middle distance running for the Guelph Track and Field Club and the YMCA. By the age of 17 he had set the all-Ontario record for the boy’s three–+mile run.

Valeriote became a local hero by winning provincial races all over the province but the hometown fans could come out in force to cheer him on in the famous Thanksgiving Day Road Races hosted in the Royal City. These races, established in 1894, became one of Canada’s largest and most important foot races drawing competitors from eastern Canada and the U.S. In 1933 Valeriote won the gruelling 5-mile factory race. Of the race the Guelph Mercury said “Valeriote showed the results of a carefully planned race and not make his bid for first place until the right time…the brilliant youngster, ended the race with a burst of speed that earned him a wild ovation from the huge crowd that lined the course.”

The Guelphite would go on to win the 5-mile race for five straight years. By the mid to late 30’s the “sturdy Italian” as he was referred to by members of the press, was one of the best middle distance runners in Canada. At the 50th National AAU Outdoor Track and Field Championships held in Buffalo, he finished 3rd in the 10,000 meter race and had his eye on qualifying for the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo. Many running experts felt he had an excellent chance of making the team but when war broke out, both the 1940 and 1944 games were cancelled and Valeriote was not allowed to live out his dream.

As age crept on him he began running of another kind…for political office. He was elected city alderman in 1964 and remained a popular member of city council for the next 20 years.

As a competitor, a businessman or city representative one thing remained constant with Mico Valeriote, he loved his family, his city and was always a true gentleman.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Athlete category – on May 10, 2006