In Runner, you're a little fellow running away from the ghost-images of three women who pursue you. You're running down a two-lane street, and obstacles periodically appear before you; "doors" that block one lane, requiring you to slide to the other to evade them; and barriers that stretch across both lanes you must jump to get over.
Failing to evade an obstacle means you collide with it, and the ghost women gain a little. After a time, a "speech balloon" appears from one of the women, containing a cartoon image, and obscuring some of the road ahead of you. This makes evading the obstacles harder, because they are harder to see in time, and it's harder to time your jumps.
At the end of the track, if you survive long enough, another girl is waiting. The "good" ending involves running into her.
If it isn't immediately obvious, the game is a set of metaphors: beyond a certain age, almost all of us are pursued by the ghosts of relationships past. Certainly when a relationship is on a downward spiral, and immediately after a breakup, the emotional pain can obscure aspects of our lives. And hopefully, that pain doesn't close you off to the possibility of happiness in a future relationship. Etc.
Burch is clearly into Jason Rohrer territory here, and while this game doesn't have the emotional impact of Passage, it's still an interesting attempt to express meaning through gameplay.
Oddly enough, I played this game immediately after playing Debt Ski, which produced considerable intellectual dissonance. Both sidescrollers, one that layers metaphorical meaning on a common game structure, and another that attempts and fails to layer irrelevant meaning in an explicitly literal fashion on the same game structure.
Maybe this says something important about how meaning is constructed in games, but if so, I'm not sure I can articulate it.