LAKE Illawarra High School students joined Tom Denniss's former classmates and teachers to give him a hero's welcome home last Tuesday.
Dr Denniss stopped by his old school during the Albion Park to Thirroul leg of the final stages of what some consider one of the greatest running adventures in the world.
He has spent 18 months circumnavigating the globe, running the equivalent of a marathon every day.
He had already run more than 26,100 kilometres when he ran through the gates of the school.
The last 5000 kilometres across Australia have taken him just under 100 days.
Cross-country runners from the school had minimal trouble keeping up with his steady pace while others struggled, but all were excited by his return.
Dr Denniss's main focus was on his family and all the people who had come out to encourage him as he headed into the final three days of his amazing feat.
After visiting his old school he caught up with his brother Paul before running over Windang Bridge with his sister Linda and then called in to see his mother Eileen before heading north.
Dr Denniss enjoyed catching up with so many familiar faces.
"It has just been fantastic," he said.
"The whole day has been great but I guess the biggest surprise was seeing my year 5 teacher.
"I haven't seen her for almost 40 years and I still recognised her."
Fay Holbert said she taught Dr Denniss at Warilla North and had been following his progress around the world.
"It was Tommy Denniss, by the way, back then," she said.