Sprinting is a feature introduced in Grand Theft Auto III and is continued in all games after that.
Sprinting allows the player to run faster. In order to sprint on PlayStation, X must be held down. Xbox requires A to be held and on PC, shift is usually used. Sprinting is not unlimited however, after a certain amount of time the player will tire and will not be able to sprint for a set amount of time. If standing still, the player will show their exhaustion. The sprint ability was carried on in GTA IV, The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony, and GTA V. In the 3D Universe and GTA Chinatown Wars, if the Paramedic side mission is completed, unlimited sprint is unlocked, excluding in GTA: San Andreas which it can only be unlocked by completing the Burglar side mission with $10,000.
In the 3D Universe (excluding GTA San Andreas), the player can have partially unlimited sprint by tapping the sprinting button quickly instead of holding it down. In GTA San Andreas, this action does not prevent the player from being tired, but allows him to sprint even faster as a compensation.
In GTA IV and GTA V, sprinting is done by tapping the sprinting button quickly instead, since holding it down simply makes them jog. In GTA IV, the player has more endurance than in previous games but can still tire, though the character will not show their exhaustion. In GTA V, there is an alteration: if the player has below 100 stamina and sprints too much without taking a break, the player will gradually lose health instead of stopping to sprint.