WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) – A Whitley County teenager refused to run in her regional cross country meet last Saturday after being given the bib number ‘666.’ Codie Thacker sat the race out refusing to wear what she says many see as the “mark of the beast.” She told a local reporter, “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.”
Whitley County High School Track Coach Gina 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.”
Despite Thacker’s objection, Kentucky High School Athletic Association officials wouldn’t change her number. Her religious principles then trumped her passion for running: “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.”
Joe Angolia, a representative for KHSAA claims meet officials were not told Thacker objected for religious reasons, saying, “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 Thacker and her coach maintain that they clearly cited religion as the reason for the objection.
Thacker says she has received lots of support from the community, and when asked if she’d make the same decision, she said, “Yes i would, I would definitely stand my ground on this.”
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.”