High school runner refuses to race wearing bib number 666

Wednesday November 6th, 2013

(Andy Cross/Getty Images) High school junior Codie Thacker is looking forward to next year's cross country season. (Andy Cross/Getty Images)

A high school cross country runner in Kentucky forfeited her chance to qualify for the state meet because she said it would have gone against her Christian beliefs to run with the assigned race number 666, according to LEX 18, NBC's Lexington, Ky., affiliate.

Junior Codie Thacker of Whitley County High and her coach, Gina Croley, said they tried to get a different number for the regional meet from three different officials but were denied each time.

However, a spokesperson for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association told the TV station that it wasn't brought to officials' attention that the request was due to religious beliefs. Had the officials known that, said the spokesperson, they would have changed the number.

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"I didn't want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number," Thacker said, adding that she's been training since June for this race. "I was so nervous, I thought about it all week."

Croley said she knew the number would be an issue for Thacker as soon as she drew it.

"I saw it and I was like, 'Whoa,'" Croley said. "I don't think she will wear that number."

Croley was right.

"I told them to mark out my name because it makes me sick just thinking that my name is associated with that number," Thacker said.
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