Martin Zeichnete was a sound editor with the state-owned East German film studio, the Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft, when he began hearing the cosmic sounds of Kraftwerk, Neu!, and Can drifting over the Berlin Wall and into his radio. An avid runner, he had the idea of utilizing this new electronic music as training music. After telling a few of his colleagues this idea, he was approached by two state agents and brought to an undisclosed location where they interrogated him for a few hours. To his surprise, they informed him that the project would begin immediately.
From 1972 until 1983 he and a group of other musicians recorded music for East German Olympians in a variety of events, from running to gymnastic floor routines. He also composed ambient music to be played in stadiums before events began. Athletes were some of the first people on the other side of the wall to get Walkmen, which they received specifically in conjunction with what Martin and his associates called Projekt Kosmischer Läufer or “Cosmic Runner.” Though the recordings were technically property of the state, he spirited as many as he could away but assumed the masters were destroyed in the chaos surrounding the fall of the Soviet Union. Luckily an engineer had saved many recordings, and they were released by Unknown Capability Recordings, with Volume 1 coming in 2013 and Volume 2 coming in March of 2014. They just announced that pre-order Volume 3 is available for pre-order. Volume 3 consists of more running tracks along with the soundtrack to an aborted animated film project designed to help an East German bid to host the Olympics. Unknown Capability also has a page with lots of other information about this awesome project, so check it out.