Paul Vorwerk, lives, runs and thinks about running and life in Cape Town, South Africa.
He enjoys his married life with Robyn Wynne who runs her own legal practice and his lively young children.
He works as a Human Resource Management Consultant mainly with small businesses.
His formal studies resulted in degrees in Honours Degrees Philosophy and Psychology.
Of his running he says “I stopped recording the numbers of my running long ago when I got into the 18000’s of kilometres. I don’t know anymore how many miles into total I have run but I estimate that it should be about once around the world at the equator.
“In the grand scheme of things my record is insignificant, other runners easily run faster and many more much further and harder events, faster than I ever could have or will.
“But for me the point is less to compare my running to others and more that it s mine, done and accumulated, in my DNA and in soul.
“I know I put my butt on the line, my feet on the tar and trail. I was tested and often enough passed.
“What I really like to do is to run for four or five hours. Then, after a swim or shower, a ruby grapefruit and an espresso or three, head into the rest of my life – before sleeping and going out again.
Often enough I think, while running of after, what it’s all about and what’s in the accumulating residues of my life and work out ways to make them sparkle.
“And, sure, I can tell you how many words there are in my book Mystical Miles, but the numbers are less important than the words and what they do their best to express.”
Interview with the author
What did you have in mind when writing Mystical Miles? Clearly you didn’t want to write a book about how to run, or an autobiography of the running you did and the people you met while running?
My experience almost from the beginning was that there can be more to running, than just running. I think most runners know or at least sense that. My running became a way of exploring the more of running.
Do you consider yourself as a writer or runner first?
Well, that’s an easy one. I consider myself a person first. We are all people. So I am a person who grapples with life as much as everyone else does. I feel fortunate about so many things including just about the fact that I have had this life. I don’t know if its luck or good fortune, but I am grateful I found running, that running engaged my mind, uncovered and engaged my soul and then took me even deeper into life. And I am really glad that I can still run, still live and get still more.
What audience do you have in mind for Mystical Miles?
Three groups really: one those who run especially those who sense or know that running is part of life. People who do other endurance activities outdoors in nature. The last group is those who enjoy and understand sharing spiritual journeys.
What was best about getting Mystical Miles published?
I love it one someone “gets” what I am writing about, when my thoughts have an impact.
What did you learn about getting books out there?
It’s always worthwhile getting your thoughts out there.
Turning to what you write about in Mystical Miles, what is it about for you?
Mystical Miles can be read as a book about running. In the beginning it’s a struggle. If you get there there is an exciting world of racing which can long or short 1 km or multi-day. I really got to like running far, which for me is between four and six hours.
Mystical Miles can also be read as a book that talks about getting more, actually, getting the most out of life. It’s still hardly believable for me just how much I got out of running. A way of looking at this is to see Mystical Miles as track a journey into the world of spirit and a exploring that idea.
You talk about the spiritual rising from the physical?
That what happened for me. Once I understood it I could see that in a very real way my journey parallels how the universe develops, how the more ethereal bits of life and being emerge from the very physical, far more powerful than people, forces in the Universe.
I understand that this can be controversial and challenging for some people. I would have like spiritual institutions to have opened the door for me but it was not to be. I am extremely glad to have encountered it anyway. I still think it strange that something as prosaic as running and created the spiritual energy; but well, it happened and I am so glad of that.
Your writing is sometimes poetic.
I’d love to write poetry. I am in awe of poets. I don’t think I am good enough to be called a real poet.
Having said that, one part of poetry that I’m pretty sure I share with some real poets is encountering ideas that can’t be captured in everyday language, so I needed find ways of expressing them using the language at my disposal.
I kept the trickier ones out of Mystical Miles.
Do you have an example of this?
I hope this won’t confuse too many people. Language is full of definitions which work by limiting, restricting, marking boundaries. Which is fine so that we work as best we can with common meanings.
I’d argue however that there is a use for let me call them “infinitions”. They are the opposite of definitions. They seek not to restrict by to include, richochet, gather momentum, set in play multiple.
Sometimes when I use words its for what they evoke beyond their meaning, for their connections and relationships to other words or the ideas behind them and then to their network of connections.