Etymology
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run-up (n.)

1834, "an act of running upward," from verbal phrase (late 14c.), from run (v.) + up (adv.). Extended sense "period of time or sequence of events proceeding some important event" is from 1966.

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Definitions of run-up

run-up (n.)
a substantial increase over a relatively short period of time;
Synonyms: runup
run-up (n.)
the approach run during which an athlete gathers speed;
From wordnet.princeton.edu