Ted Jaleta was born into a farm family in the beautiful lush highlands of northwestern Ethiopia. From an early age, he knew the importance of education and spent years away from home to improve his own lot in life through schooling. Ted was on track to become a world-class long distance runner when civil war broke out in Ethiopia in the 1970s. He was caught in a peaceful demonstration, imprisoned and tortured. He escaped with his life and immigrated to Canada in 1982 as a refugee. Ted credits Canada and its people for giving him a second chance, one that he is repaying over and over by sharing his message of hope, courage, hard work and a positive attitude.
Ted became a Canadian citizen in 1985 which was one of his proudest moments. Ted worked with the Canada Revenue Agency from 1991 to 2015. He took up competitive running again and became an internationally recognized Masters athlete. In 1997, he was ranked 7th in the world by Runners World Magazine in the Masters Division for distance running. He was also recognized as the SaskSport Master Athlete of the Year that year and in 2005, he was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
Ted has received several athletic and community awards for his positive contributions. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the 2006 CRA Award of Excellence, a prestigious national award for outstanding community service. He is equally committed to fitness and is a certified distance coach helping individuals to help reach their personal goals. In 2014, Ted received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Regina. In February 2017, the City of Regina added the “Jaleta” name to the list of future street names in Regina.
It is true Ted’s journey to Canada covers more than the miles. It underscores a message of adapting to life change. As a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, he provides many life-changing messages in a spellbinding form. He cites surviving the filth of a refugee camp in Africa, to the thrill of being sponsored as an internationally-ranked elite athlete in North America. His story touches the hearts of all who hear it.
Wherever he goes, he inspires others to achieve goals through commitment and perseverance. He demonstrates how sports can free one from life's negative challenges and he encourages people to dream their dreams, live their dreams, defeat obstacles and become who they are meant to be. His attitude towards life is "to recognize there is a positive in every situation, a lesson to be learned in everything, and that positive attitude combined with commitment can see you through adversity.