Word Origin & History
n. of action from run
(v.); to be in (or out) of the running "among" (or "not among") "the lead competitors in a race" (1863) is a metaphor from horse racing, where make the running "set the pace" is recorded from 1837. Running mate originally was a horse entered in a race to
set the pace for another from the same stable who was intended to win (1868); U.S. vice-presidential sense is recorded from 1900. Running dog first recorded 1937, from Chinese and N.Korean communist phrases used to describe supposed imperialist lackeys, cf. Mandarin zou gou "running dog," on the notion of a dog that runs at its master's command. Running board first attested 1817, in ref. to ships and boats.