On September 13th 2013 Tom Denniss strode into the Sydney Opera House having run a full lap around the world, marking the end of a 26,232km adventure that took the ambitious jogger a staggering 622 days. That’s 622 marathons back to back. The run was also equivalent to running from sea level to the top of Mt Everest a total of 25 times. What a Legend.
Tom is about as close to a real-life Forrest Gump as it comes and interestingly he also loves shrimp and thinks life is like a box of chocolates.
I caught up with the Sydney-based adventurer for a quick-delve into the mind of a modern day Marathon Man, and asked what his favourite spots are around New South Wales and Australia:
What was your very first adventure?
In 1973, at age 12, I ran 8 km from the tiny settlement of Woolgarlo on Lake Burrinjuck to the main road.
Can you give a quick summary of your epic trips to date?
I ran from Melbourne to Sydney in 2009, and then around the world in 2012/13. In addition, I’ve organised a week-long annual cycling trip which has taken place predominantly in NSW and Victoria, but also South Australia and Tasmania. We usually cover about 700 km, although one year we rode back roads from Melbourne to Sydney, covering 1,100 km.
What’s the one memory from all your trips that really stands out?
There is one big long memory – my run around the world. But more particularly, running across the Nullarbor. That’s a must for any adventurer.
Why did you decide to run around the world?
I thought it would be a great way to see the world – not just the normal tourist sites, but the real world with real people.
Did you eat Bubba Gump Shrimp on your travels?
No, afraid not, but I did run the same road on which Forrest Gump stopped running, right past the very spot where he turned around and said he was tired and was going home now. The support crew dressed me up as Forrest for that scene (see cover photo of Tom at Monument Valley).
How many pairs of trainers to you get through?
What drives you?
Experiences, not possessions.
And your most terrifying, heart-stopping moment thing?
Almost falling a thousand feet off a ledge of ice in the Andes. You can read about it in detail in the first chapter of my book, due out on June 29.
What’s your favourite area of NSW and why?
There is so much of the state that I like. Anywhere from the Kangaroo Valley/Berry/Kiama/Jamberoo region to the area around Orange/Millthorpe/Canowindra or perhaps Gundagai and nearby towns like Binalong and Boorowa. But there’s so much more that’s equally as good.
If you could do one weekend micro-adventure in NSW, where and what would you do?
I’d run from Cowra to Orange.
What’s the most hardcore weekend adventure you’ve ever done?
I did once run from Cowra to Orange, when training for my run around the world.
You’ve got a week to play with. Where would you road trip to in NSW/Australia and why?
It would probably require more than a week, but the Nullarbor is one of the greatest road trips one could attempt.
Favourite place to camp in Australia?
I’d like to take my fiance away for the weekend from Sydney – where should I take her?
A simple trip would be Kangaroo Valley. A longer drive would be the old pub at Binalong.
What do you love most about NSW?
The geographical variety.
“Don’t question why she needs to be so free; she’ll tell you it’s the only way to be” Ruby Tuesday.
Perhaps one day another run around the world, breaking my own world record for the fastest circumnavigation on foot. But it will depend on acquiring adequate sponsorship.
Top nugget of advice for aspiring adventurers like yourself?
Stop thinking about it and get out there.
What’s the one item you’d never travel without?