Say you just moved to the Bay Area and know Oakland only as the home of the A's, those towering cranes, and more than its fair share of crime. Or say you live in San Ramon and don't get many opportunities to explore the lay of the land on the other side of the hills. Or maybe you're a longtime Oakland resident who doesn't explore adjacent neighborhoods as often as you'd like. An hour-long spin through the city would rectify the situation, sure, but it wouldn't reveal much of what Oakland's diverse neighborhoods, populations, and landscapes feel like on the ground. You'd have to try a little harder. For that, you'd need the Oakland Marathon. Resuscitated in 2010 after a 25-year absence, the race features a new-and-improved course that leads runners on a 26-mile tour of the real Oakland: downtown, upscale Rockridge, the hills (views included), blue-collar Dimond, culturally vibrant Fruitvale, ever-evolving West Oakland, naturally serene Lake Merritt, and a finish at City Hall. The half-marathon course cuts a similarly illuminating path through downtown, West Oakland, and Jack London Square. There's no better way to experience Oakland and its people in a single outing.