Runner Tom Denniss Shares How He Ran 26,000 Km Around the World in 622 Days

Runner Tom Denniss
South of Kaikoura, New Zealand

Hi. My name is Tom Denniss. I have developed a technology that converts the energy in ocean waves into electricity. I work at commercializing that technology. I grew up in Warilla, a suburb of Wollongong, about 100 km south of Sydney, Australia and I am currently living in Sydney. I love running and I enjoy travelling and seeing new things.

I finished my run around the world in 2013, starting and finishing at the Sydney Opera House and covering over 26,000 km in 622 days. My wife, Carmel, was my support crew and followed me throughout this journey, transporting our gear and sustaining me with food and drinks when I needed it.

How and why did you get into running around the world?

I thought it would be a good way to see the world. I also wanted to show people that anyone can do things like running around the world. They just have to want to do it. No one else influenced me. I have always been someone who does things, not just talks about them. Once I had decided to do it, I was never going to change my mind. As for preparation, I simply ran as much as I could in the preceding year, averaging 20 km per day in training. In fact, I didn’t participate in any other sports during this time — just running!

My most memorable world run took place at the Opera House in Sydney. I chose the Opera House because it was an easily recognizable and iconic location to start and finish at.

Runner Tom Denniss
Ventura to Malibu

How did you finance your run?

I had one sponsor that covered about one-quarter of the cost. The rest was funded by myself. I don’t spend much money on my pursuits. I get by on minimal gear. I spend a bit of money on travelling, but almost nothing on gear — just running shoes.

How did you eat and sleep?

I just ate whatever was easy to obtain; mostly in cheap restaurants and bars. I didn’t have any specific dietary requirements. I just ate whatever was on offer in the location I was at the time. I took no supplements. We slept mostly in motels and hotels, and sometimes in homes of people who invited us. I never slept in a tent during my run around the world.

World Runner Tom Denniss

How did you handle injuries and recovery?

I only had a couple of sore tendons during the run. I handled these through a couple of days of rest for the first one, and some re-engineering of how I was sleeping for the second. It turned out to be an issue associated with how I was sleeping, which was resulting in not recovering adequately each night. Good sleep is the secret to prevent injuries, along with running at a sustainable pace that’s not too fast. If I feel an injury coming on, I simply slow down in my training.

Runner Tom Denniss
Te Kauwhata, New Zealand

How did you bring your things with you?

In a normal luggage and there was enough room. I have no idea what brand I had. I no longer have that bag. I just put my things in. As for bag recommendations, you have to get the bag what works for you.

What has been your best sport-related purchase below $100?

A comfortable pair of socks. I don’t have any favourite gear. Running is simple. Just put on a pair of shorts and shoes and go outside.

Runner Tom Denniss
Near Kaikoura, New Zealand

What inspired you to write your book?

I thought it would make a good story. My book is entitled, The World At My Feet — it’s the story of my run around the world. It’s for anyone who likes a good adventure story.

The scariest moment of my world run was when I almost fell over a 1,000 foot cliff of ice at the top of the Andes. It was the closest I’ve ever come to death. You can read about it in the first chapter of my book.

World Runner Tom Denniss

What is your best advice for others who want to follow your footsteps?

If you want to do it, don’t procrastinate – just get out there and make it happen. Some runners run too fast on adventure runs. You have to slow it down to a sustainable pace you can keep all day, every day. Slow down, and learn how to run on your forefoot, not your heels.

Tell people you’re going to do it, then it’s harder to change your mind.

Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand

What will the future bring?

Nothing in the near future, at least not until I have succeeded with my wave energy technology. Nothing planned, though I might like to one day run around the world again.

Visit Tom Denniss on his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter


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