Sydney gave former Lake Illawarra High School student Dr Tom Denniss star treatment on Friday when hundreds of people gathered at the Sydney Opera House to see him come full circle and complete his run around the world.
Dr Denniss was given a police escort down George Street in lunchtime traffic and as soon as he came into view, the crowd on the steps of the Opera House gave a huge cheer, willing him over the final few steps to the finish line.
Many present had travelled from the Illawarra and included old school friends, family and teachers. All were amazed to hear him say how he did not have any niggling pain or injury after breaking the previous record by 40 days.
None in the crowd were more proud than his daughters, Hannah and Grace Denniss.
"I think he is the most incredible man I will ever meet," Grace said.
"He is just always inspiring us, whether it is with his studies or with his athleticism.
"He is just an amazing person to look up to."
Hannah said she never had any doubt he would achieve his target and run more than 26,250 kilometres - or 622 marathons - in 622 days.
"I knew he would do it from day one," she said.
"This doesn't surprise me at all. It all feels a bit surreal really. It was so nice to hear everyone cheer and I got a bit of a tear in my eye. Mum [Carmel] did too and so did Grace. It is a bit overwhelming."
Carmel Denniss had two words in mind after 20 months of helping her husband with anything he needed during their epic adventure: "Mission accomplished," she said.
"I am really happy because his dream was to run around the world. He did not know he could really do it, but I am really happy he has been able to fulfil that dream. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it."
Dr Denniss said the welcome home was a bit overwhelming after so much running on his own in many remote parts of the world.
"I am just not used to that sort of attention," he said.
"It is a funny feeling. In a way it is great and in a way I just wanted to hide."
Dr Denniss said there were so many unknowns when he set out from the same spot on New Year's Eve 2011.
"I did not know then if I would be able to manage it," he said.
"I had certainly done all the training I could and I was reasonably confident, but not completely. It turned out to be a great experience in hindsight. I guess about half-way through, I knew I was going to get there."
Dr Denniss said he ran at about 8km/h across five continents and the only rest days he got were when he travelled across water to move from one part of the world to another.
In Australia, he ran 5000 kilometres in 96 days.
Dr Denniss said he wanted to thank those who turned up at the finish and along the way for his homecoming during the past week and those who supported him and Oxfam along the way.
"If I had been out there thinking no-one was interested at all, it would have made it a lot harder.
"I really was a bit surprised just how much interest there was right at the end there. I hope everyone has enjoyed it as much as I have. I am just sorry it can't go one forever."
Asked if he would do it again in reverse he said "maybe on a bike".