Controversy

Nov 4, 2013 6:55 PM

Whitley County Cross Country Runner Refuses To Run After Being Assigned "666" Number

A Whitley County student athlete says it would have gone against her religious beliefs to run with the race number '6-6-6'. She and her coach tried to get her a different number, and were told they could not.

Nerves over the race turned to frustration for Whitley County High School junior Codie Thacker because of a different number. It would have been her third time running this race. "I've trained since June for this race," she said.

And if she won the regional, it would have been her first time competing for the state championship. "I was so nervous I thought about it all week," said Thacker.

Cross country coach Gina Croley knows her students, so when she pulled the number assigned to Thacker, she knew there might be a problem. "I saw it and I was like, 'whoa,'" she said. "I don't think she will wear that number."

"666" is, according the the bible, the mark of the beast. Thacker couldn't bring herself to run while wearing "666" because of her faith. So, she and her coach tried to get a different number. They asked three different officials. They were told no three different times.

"I didn't want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number," said Thacker.

A spokesperson with Kentucky High School Athletic Association told LEX 18 it wasn't brought to their attention that the request was because of religious beliefs, adding that if they knew, they would have changed the number.

For those who know Thacker, it's easy to believe what happened next. "I told them to mark out my name because it makes me sick just thinking that my name is associated with that number," she said.

There won't be any more races for Thacker this season. She's now focused on next year, ready to keep running without running away from her beliefs.

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