Born over 5 billion years ago the Runner is the last survivor of his, as yet un-named civilization. Almost nothing is known about the Runner's history, the name of his race, his culture, how he became an Elder Of The Universe, not even his true name has been revealed. All that is known is that at some time in his millennia old existence, he met and joined the Elders of the Universe. His passion was the freedom of running to unknown places of the universe.
He heard a telepathic call and traveled light years to Titan where he found Moondragon. He found her extraordinary and asked her to travel the universe with him. She accepted and they traveled the galaxies together. While standing on a star that would soon go supernova, Moondragon asked the Runner to take her home when she saw he had no desire to warn or help those beings that would perish in its destruction.
He was next part of the plan to kill Galactus, and make the Elders Galactus-like beings in a new universe. They first wished to take the Silver Surfer out of the equation, believing he would defend his former master. Runner attacked the Surfer and outmatched him in strength and power. Runner blasted him to a planet's surface and left him for dead. The Surfer definately felt he was nearing death but he was healed by Mantis.
The Elders gathered the soul gems ( Infinity Gems) to successfully kill Galactus. They almost succeeded, but were foiled by the Silver Surfer and Nova. As punishment, Runner was consumed by Galactus. But through a bet with Death, Grandmaster had barred all Elders from death. They remained inside Galactus, attacking him from the inside. He and the other Elders were released by Master Order and Lord Chaos. They assisted Galactus in defeating the In-Betweener. Runner left Galactus with the other Elders. He maintained possession of the Space Gem.
During the Thanos Quest, Runner was met by Thanos, seeking his Space gem. Runner had attained incredible speed, unlike any Thanos had ever seen. Fortunately for Thanos, he knew the gem's power while Runner did not fully understand the power of the gem. He was not faster, he was instantly moving from one place to another. Thanos used his time gem to turn Runner into an old, feeble man. He took his gem and then transformed him into a infant.
He then traded the infant Runner to Collector for his Reality Gem, which Collector believed worthless. But Thanos deceived Collector and the transformation of Runner was only temporary. Angry that he was going to be part of a collection, Runner attacked his 'brother'.
Shortly thereafter, The Runner organized a universe-wide search for the fastest entity in the Universe. He began with a marathon from the Earth to the moon which was won by a extra-dimensional being calling himself " Buried Alien". He later organized a race from the winners of his various marathons from all over the universe. This race was won by Makkari.
The Runner was created by Peter B. Gillis and Don Perlin the character first appearing in Defenders vol 1 #143.
The Runner's strength has never been measured, but he appears to have well over Class 100 strength (able to lift/press over 100 tons). Recent exploits have shown that he is stronger than even Galactus greatest herald, The Silver Surfer.
The Runner's body is enhanced and fueled by The Power Primordial, the eons old energies released at and from the birth of the universe. The Power Primordial grants the Runner a myriad of superhuman abilities far and beyond that of most super humanly powered and even cosmically powered beings. The energies in his body make him immortal so that he cannot die or be killed by any conventional means. The Runner is also immortal in a way that even "regular" immortals cannot match. Death has barred him from her realm, so that even if a force that should normally kill The Runner were set against him, he would still not perish. No form of injury no matter how severe can ever kill him. He is virtually invulnerable, able to shrug off powerful cosmic blasts from The Silver Surfer without injury or pause. His agility and balance are so great that the Silver Surfer was unable to shake him from his board even while Surfer was in total control and exerting maximum effort. His Primordial blasts have proven again, more powerful than even the Silver Surfer's blasts, which are capable of leveling large cities. He doesn't need to eat or breath, The Power Primordial nourishes, sustains and grants him endurance so great that he is totally inexhaustible. He can use the energies in his body for numerous effects from enhancing his already considerable abilities, to re-arranging molecules.
Like all Elders of The Universe, The Runner possesses a "cosmic awareness" that allows him to sense and track beings, places, even items across the vastness of space. The Runner possesses the unusual ability to effect the emotion centers of beings even as powerful as the Silver Surfer. The runner used this ability to manipulate The Silver Surfer's emotions to such a degree, that the Surfer was smiling and actually "liking" The Runner while he was being attacked by him. It is not known whether The Runner can use his emotion power to control emotions in other ways ways, such angering, saddening, or causing someone distress. It is also not known whether this power is derived from The Power Primordial or whether this is an innate ability possessed by his race. All of these abilities not withstanding, The Runner's greatest power is his unparalleled speed. He is easily able to travel at and far exceed the speed of light. He has proven himself to be greatly faster than even the Silver Surfer. The Runner is arguably the fastest living being in all of the known galaxies.
The Runner once possessed the Space Gem, one of a handful of the ultra-powerful Infinity Gems. With the Space Gem The Runner is able to fold space and virtually teleport across galaxy wide distances. He ended up losing the space gem to Thanos during Thanos quest.