Traditionally, runaway stars are O- and B-type stars with large peculiar velocities. We would like to extend this definition to young stars (up to ≈50 Myr) of any spectral type and to identify those present in the Hipparcos catalogue by applying different selection criteria, such as peculiar space velocities or peculiar one-dimensional velocities. Runaway stars are important for studying the evolution of multiple star systems or star clusters, as well as for identifying the origins of neutron stars. We compile the distances, proper motions, spectral types, luminosity classes, V magnitudes and B−V colours, and we utilize evolutionary models from different authors to obtain star ages. We study a sample of 7663 young Hipparcos stars within 3 kpc from the Sun. The radial velocities are obtained from the literature. We investigate the distributions of the peculiar spatial velocity and the peculiar radial velocity as well as the peculiar tangential velocity and its one-dimensional components and we obtain runaway star probabilities for each star in the sample. In addition, we look for stars that are situated outside any OB association or OB cluster and the Galactic plane as well as stars for which the velocity vector points away from the median velocity vector of neighbouring stars or the surrounding local OB association/cluster (although the absolute velocity might be small). We find a total of 2547 runaway star candidates (with a contamination of normal Population I stars of 20 per cent at most). Thus, after subtracting these 20 per cent, the runaway frequency among young stars is about 27 per cent. We compile a catalogue of runaway stars, which is available via VizieR.