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Web Exclusive: Runners worldwide remember Boston

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(CNN) - Boston's pain has been felt by people all over the world and the running community in particular has sympathized with the tragedy. Tens of thousands of runners in London remembered the victims, and there was also an emotional marathon in Bethlehem on Sunday.

More than five-thousand miles away from the terror that unfolded in Boston, marathon runners in Bethlehem can't help but have Boston on their minds.  No one more than Karen Kjaer. She ran in the Boston marathon… and heard the explosions as she was cooling down.

"I thought this is crazy can I go to the West Bank in five or six days, but after a day or two I thought this is the right thing to do it is really important for me to be here because of Boston because of the whole situation," says Karen Kjaer. 

A few feet away runner Dimitri Awad wears a T-shirt with a picture of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the youngest victim killed in the Boston bombing. "I wanted to show the people in the U.S. that we care about what's going on.  It doesn't matter if a child dies from here or the U-S or even Israel.  Children are our children.  So, I put on this shirt here in memory of Martin.  So, I hope his family knows we care," says Dimtri Awwad, Palestinian runner.

The marathon in Bethlehem was of course planned long before what happened in Boston, but with the victims fresh on the minds of runners here they are also here to send a political message about the restrictions on Palestinians movement. This is the first international marathon in the West Bank, beginning and ending at the Church of the Nativity.

The route is a tough one, mapped out by organizers, to make a point by taking runners through some of the restrictions Palestinians face daily.

Those running the full marathon had to run the same route twice, right past the massive wall that snakes through parts of the West Bank and cuts off access. Israel says the wall has successfully helped stop terror attacks from the West Bank.

And the restriction on Palestinians are for security reasons.  But Palestinian officials and some runners accuse Israel of being blatantly unfair in the name of security.  This year Israel refused to let 26 runners from Gaza, including an Olympic athlete, into the West Bank for the marathon saying they did not meet Israel's criteria for movement between the two areas.

At least two rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel this year, but organizers say Palestinian athletes shouldn't be punished for the actions of others.

"I think it's the time now to punish the Israelis to ask the Israelis to stop their crazy racist measure and procedures against the Palestinian sports family," says Jabril Rajoub, Palestinian Olympic Committee.

Israel says the procedures are not racist or crazy, but based on making sure Israel is safe. Palestinian runner, Abdul Nasser Awajneh won the marathon, but laments his fellow runners from Gaza couldn't participate.  Marathons in this part of the world can rarely avoid running into politics.

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