Stephanie Tobben
Stephanie Tobben

By Dan Popovic

More and more, individuals are taking the initiative to get active or involved in their communities to combat obesity. From casual exercise to taking “racecations” – that’s traveling to participate in road races and marathons –to utilizing technology such as smartphone apps, the options to promote and health and wellness are exploding around the country.

I had a chance to chat with two Intown athletes and find out what they are doing to stay healthy.

Amber Raley has been a constant at many of the Atlanta BeltLine running events, and she has also enrolled in the Active Lifestyle Challenge, where participants can earn awards – including cash, gift cards and bragging rights for being the BeltLine’s “most active” user.

Raley commutes by bicycle to her job, runs, swims and has competed in half-marathons. “I enjoy these activities as a way to stay in shape and explore the city,” she said.

Raley said she’s inspired by her mother, who has ran and biked with her in several events.  This year, Raley said she plans to participate in all the BeltLine races, the Peachtree Road Race, along with more biking and swimming.

Another Intown athlete, Stephanie Tobben, has become addicted to using technology as part of her race and workout routine. Tobben uses the hand-held Garmin device, which tracks performance and gives GPS-style navigation.

Amber Raley

“I may be in the minority here, but I tend to go ‘unplugged’ when I’m training – no music or apps,” Tobben said. “It’s just me and my Garmin, which is the one thing I can’t rain or race without. It might be a slight obsession at this point.”

Tobben laughed that friends constantly comment on her addiction to her Garmin and she said a photo from the Publix Half Marathon shows her checking the device as she crossed the finish line.

Tobben said she regularly swims, cycles and runs and decided to try her first triathlon in 2011. “At the time, I thought I would complete one Olympic distance triathlon, mark it off the list, and call it a day,” she said. “Now, I find myself planning vacation days around races.”

To check out more of Dan Popovic’s interviews and get more news on creating and rewarding health communities, visit his blog at

Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.