Upload & Sell: On
To my eye, the original is superior (substantially) to all of the proposed revisions.
You mention the "heaviness" of the area above the runner. It is precisely that heaviness that, for me, depicts a story worth seeing. I find my eyes "running" around the shot and appreciating the vastness of the environment compared to almost irrelevant focal point. It's reminiscent of a rat in a maze, and I like the emotion that evokes.
The crops and recompositions all certainly train the focus on the runner, but they do so at the expense of some very interesting context, I think, and they look rather dull to me. Suffice it to say that yours was the only composition that gave me pause, and engaged my mind in taking in all of the scene. I like that, and think it is perfect as is.