Green’s Dictionary of Slang

runs, the n.

also runners, the
[the diarrhoea runs from one’s body; one runs to the lavatory]

1. diarrhoea.

[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 70: She gave me the shankers, likewise the runners too. / And in about ten days the blue balls was in view.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 85: I don’t feel so good [...] I got the runners. They came on all of a sudden.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 10: My stomach’s been a brute. Gas, the runs, and feeling crummy in general.
[UK]C. Lee diary 9 May in Eight Bells & Top Masts (2001) 212: He found some really foul stuff and told the Fifth [Engineer] that he ahd to take it [...] he reckoned it had to be strong enough to give the Fith the runs.
[UK]G. Lambert Inside Daisy Clover (1966) 80: I think I am getting the runs.
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 61: I had the runs and I couldn’t get [...] far away from the toilet.
[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘Please Don’t Burn Our Shithouse Down’ in More Snatches and Lays 70: Little Bill has got the runs.
[Ire]R. Doyle Snapper 209: She’d wanted to go to the toilet really badly, like she had the runs.
[NZ]A. Duff Jake’s Long Shadow 71: He might have the runs, hahaha!
[UK]D.S. Mitchell Killer Tune (2008) 20: Why couldn’t he just be like other people and migraines or rashes or the runs?
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 18: Got a guy feeding me his work sites so I can show up, give him the runs.

2. in fig. use, an image of uncontrolled excess.

[US]O.e Hawkins Chili 57: You drink wine there [i.e. San Francisco]. or smoke. or whatever. Some people get the spiritual runs there.

In phrases

on the run (adj.)

(US) suffering from diarrhoea.

[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 24: Not eating or drinking much, being on the run this last week, along with the heat, had taken about ten pounds off me.