News & Updates

3 November 2021 • General

Q and A with Michael Voss

Michael Voss at the finish of the 2020 Rotorua Marathon after winning the men’s title in 2:31:13 (Photo: Alisha Lovrich)

The Lake City AC athlete has claimed “hometown” successes at each of the past two Rotorua Marathons. Here we chat to the 24-year-old athlete on everything from his career highlight to his funniest joke.

Why did you start athletics?

I started athletics in primary school and remember placing in cross country and athletics days. I remember going to the inter school comps and really enjoying the competitive nature, and racing kids from other areas. I loved the feeling of winning and beating kids who had placed higher than me in the past. Getting a day out of class was also a bonus.   

What is the last piece of coaching advice you received?

It would be from my coach, Kim Stevenson, saying something along the lines of “it’s the effort that counts, not the time.” It gets said quite regularly as some days at work being a builder can be quite rough. Just getting out and completing a workout is a success, even if the paces are a little slower than what we had set.   

What has been your career highlight?

Winning the Rotorua Marathon would be up there. Knowing the history of the event and being a local makes it feel significant.  

What has been your athletics low?

Having to pull out of the Tarawera Ultramarathon at 70km this year was hard. I had done a lot of training leading into it, so it was a disappointing outcome and my race didn’t go to plan. Although this was a big low for me, it was also a valuable learning experience. I am looking forward to trying again in February.

Where do you see your athletics career ten years from now? 

I hope to still be running and I have completed a few big races on the international stage. I would also like to be at a place in my career where I am able to coach other athletes.  

What is your greatest mistake in athletics? 

Not getting a coach until my last year of secondary school. My training was a bit random up until then and I feel as if getting a coach would have helped my performance a lot in my first few years involved in athletics. 

Which athlete is the most interesting to follow on social media?  

Tom Evans (British Army captain and Ultrarunner) shares a lot of his training on social media. Along with the highs, he also shows the lows such as coming back from injury. He was one of the reasons why I aspire to get into more trail running events.

Do you have a favourite athletics social media post?

I don’t have a particular post but seeing all the New Zealand athletes at the Olympics in Tokyo doing so well was cool to see.    

If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be and why?  

I’d love to see more people around my age (20-30yr) get into running. It would not only improve their fitness, but also their mental health. I don’t know how to make it happen, but I believe there would be a lot of benefits from it.   

Which athlete do you most admire from your event? 

Kenenisa Bekele (the three-time Olympic champion and second fastest marathoner in history).

Outside of athletics, what is your greatest accomplishment this year?

I finished renovating the inside of my house, which took a lot of weekends. Or teaching my huntaway dog Kina to chase magpies when they get too close in the dog park.  

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?

I decided to do breaststroke at our swimming sports day in a morph suit. When I came up to breathe, I choked on the face covering/ water and had to stop mid race and rip the face apart.  

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

A huntaway dog as I enjoy running, going down mountain bike trails, food, and falling asleep before 8pm  

Do you have a nickname?

Just ‘Voss’

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

Being able to fly around would be nice, especially with the rising gas prices.  

What is the funniest joke you know? 

What’s the difference between a bird and a fly? A bird can fly but a fly can’t bird. 

Where do you see yourself when you are 50?

Probably still building, but hopefully keeping up with the senior men grade in races.  

What is the most ridiculous fact you know? 

Sea otters hold hands while they sleep so they don’t drift apart.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?

Eliminate covid so everything can be normal again.  

If you could host a talk show, what three guests would you invite and why?

Dave Grohl, Eminem, Freddy Mercury. I’d get them to write an album together!!