A Wollongong man who attracted international headlines for designing a wave energy generator inspired by the Kiama Blowhole now is motivated to achieve another world first by running around the globe for charity and setting a Guinness world record.Starting Saturday, Dr Tom Denniss is attempting to run the equivalent of 700 marathons in 700 days to set the unclaimed record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth on foot.He will set off from the Sydney Opera House to Bondi Beach on New Year’s Eve before flying to New Zealand to continue his global trek to raise money for Oxfam.When Dr Denniss designed a chamber to harness the energy of waves in the mid 1990s, he was inspired by the blowhole he visited as a child growing up in Warilla.But the inspiration for his 29,000km ultra-marathon through 25 countries, comes from the former Lake Illawarra High student’s favourite movie.Visions of Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump helped him during a Sydney to Melbourne ultra-marathon two years ago.He enjoyed that run so much he decided the logical extension was to run around the world.‘‘I reckon it is the best way to see and experience what the world has to offer,’’ he said.‘‘Seeing, hearing, and smelling the countryside, while meeting the locals in every region I pass through ... I can’t think of a better way to spend a year or two. I’ll be heading in a predominantly easterly direction around the world until I arrive back in Sydney.’’Dr Denniss said his attempt to be the first to meet Guinness World Records’ criteria was made possible by the support of his family, friends and sponsors.‘‘My wife Carmel and our good friend Libby O’Neill will be driving the course, transporting our gear and providing me with drinks and food when necessary,’’ he said.‘‘I will endeavour to run in as many countries as possible and I will be spanning as wide a range of latitudes as possible, from equatorial to polar regions including the Arctic Circle in Finland. ‘‘I will still be involved with Oceanlinx and wave energy while I am running thanks to the internet, email, and Skype. I know there will be many difficult times ahead of me, but I’m sure they’ll be outweighed by the good.’’Major sponsor Next Digital will help people follow the global trek at www.nextdigital.com and Dr Denniss will post updates on Facebook and Twitter at @tomsnextstep.
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