Etymology
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runner-up (n.)

1842, originally in dog racing, "dog that loses only the final race;" see runner + up. The more general sense of "team or competitor that takes second place" is from 1885.

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runner (n.)

c. 1300, "messenger on foot," agent noun from run (v.). The meaning "one who runs, a racer" is from early 14c.

With many technical senses. The meaning "smuggler, one who risks or evades dangers, impediments, or legal restrictions" is by 1721; the sense of "police officer" is from 1771. The botanical meaning "rooting stem of a plant" is from 1660s. The sense of "embroidered cloth for a table" is from 1888. In baseball, "a base-runner," by 1845.

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up (n.)
"that which is up," 1530s, from up (adv.). Phrase on the up-(and-up) "honest, straightforward" first attested 1863, American English.
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up (adv.)

Old English up, uppe, from Proto-Germanic *upp- "up" (source also of Old Frisian, Old Saxon up "up, upward," Old Norse upp; Danish, Dutch op; Old High German uf, German auf "up"; Gothic iup "up, upward," uf "on, upon, under;" Old High German oba, German ob "over, above, on, upon"), from PIE root *upo "under," also "up from under," hence also "over."

As a preposition, "to a higher place" from c. 1500; also "along, through" (1510s), "toward" (1590s). Often used elliptically for go up, come up, rise up, etc. Up the river "in jail" first recorded 1891, originally in reference to Sing Sing, which is up the Hudson from New York City. To drive someone up the wall (1951) is from the notion of the behavior of lunatics or caged animals. Insulting retort up yours (scil. ass) is attested by late 19c.

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up- 
prefix with various senses, from Old English up (adv.), corresponding to similar prefixes in other Germanic languages.
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front-runner (n.)
also frontrunner, of political candidates, 1908, American English, a metaphor from horse racing (where it is used by 1901 of a horse that runs best while in the lead).
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up (v.)

1550s, "to drive and catch (swans)," from up (adv.). Intransitive meaning "get up, rise to one's feet" (as in up and leave) is recorded from 1640s. Sense of "to move upward" is recorded from 1737. Meaning "increase" (as in up the price of oil) is attested from 1915. Compare Old English verb uppian "to rise up, swell." Related: Upped; upping. Upping block, used for mounting or dismounting horses, carriages, etc., is attested from 1796 (earlier was horsing-block, 1660s).

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up (adj.)
c. 1300, "dwelling inland or upland," from up (adv.). Meaning "going up" is from 1784. From 1815 as "excited, exhilarated, happy," hence "enthusiastic, optimistic." Up-and-coming "promising" is from 1848. Musical up-tempo (adj.) is recorded from 1948.
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road-runner (n.)

"long-tailed crested desert cuckoo, the chaparral-cock," 1847, American English, from road (n.) + runner. Earliest references give the Mexican Spanish name for it as correcamino and the English name might be a translation of that. The Warner Bros. cartoon character dates to 1948.

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rum-runner (n.)
"smuggler or transporter of illicit liquor," 1919, from rum (n.) + runner.
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