Whitley Co. teen refuses to run race because of '666' number

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WYMT)- While standing for religious principles, a Whitley County teen refused to run a race because of the number she was given to wear. Codie Thacker says seeing what some connect with the "mark of the beast" made her sick.

Thacker says running is her passion and she was ready to go for gold at her regional cross country meet held last Saturday. She told us, “I've been training since June for this race, and it’s kind of like the climax of my season to run regional’s and to see how well I do.”

But three numbers got in the way of that dream.

“I just don't believe that 666 should be a number that's anywhere on your body and I did not want that number associated with me. It kind of made me sick,” said Thacker.

The number ‘666’ was printed on her bib number for the meet, a tag given to each runner to identify them during the races.

Whitley County High School Track Coach Gina Croley thought the solution would be simple. Croley said, “I'm very sure that the number was computer generated. I don't think it was any type of you know let's give somebody this number, but when it was brought to their attention, I feel like if it were possible, it could have been changed.”

Except KHSAA officials wouldn’t change Thacker’s number. So she turned to her faith, deciding her love for the Lord was great than any race.

“Whenever I didn't get to do it, of course, I was upset, because I'd trained all season for it. But in another sense I stood up for my beliefs and I stood up for God,” said Thacker.

A representative for KHSAA claims meet officials were not told Thacker objected to the number for religious reasons. Joe Angolia with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association said, “We've made adjustments to uniform codes and things like that in the past when it's known that religious reasons are in play. Maybe had that been made more clear to meet officials, they would have made that decision.”

Both women say they did site Thacker's religion as the reason. Coach Croley said, “I wouldn't have been more proud of her if she won the entire meet. She stood on her principles; she stood for what she believed in.”

We asked Thacker would you do it over again? She replied, “Yes i would, I would definitely stand my ground on this.” She says she has received lots of community support.

KHSAA officials WYMT spoke with says those numbers are in fact randomly assigned and that schools are given the numbers early just in case they want to switch. Croley says she just see's no reason why they wouldn't change it on the day of the race.

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