A captain on the Whitley County cross country team put her religious beliefs ahead of her passion for running Saturday when she refused to compete in the regional meet held in Wayne County due to the fact that she was given the number 666 to wear on her uniform.
Codie Thacker, a junior at Whitley County, had worked hard for many months in preparation for the race, but on the morning of the event she discovered that she had been assigned the number, which many consider to be the “mark of the beast” from the Bible.
“It made me sick to think about wearing it,” Thacker said when asked how she felt after learning she had drawn that particular number.
Thacker, along with WCHS track coach Gina Croley, assumed that since the number was randomly generated it could easily be exchanged for another, but the officials at the meet refused their request. At this point, she felt that she was simply risking too much to run with the number on, so she made the decision to not compete.
“Everybody that I talked to was so supportive of my decision,” said Thacker. “My coaches, teammates, family members. They’re all just proud of me for standing up for what I believe in.”
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association claims they were not informed that Thacker’s refusal to wear the number had anything to do with her religious beliefs, and that if that had been made clearer maybe they could have done more to accommodate her.
As for the possibility of any feelings of regret on Thacker’s part, she still stands by her decision without question.
“I absolutely stand by my decision to not run,” she said. “People have reached out to me and have told me that I am an inspiration to them.”
“My relationship with God is my number one priority. I’m just happy that I could reach out to people through my decision. If I can inspire just one person, then this was all worth it as far as I’m concerned.”