High school cross country runner Codie Thacker spent months training for a big regional race in Kentucky only to drop out at the last minute.
The reason: The 16-year-old was assigned the number “666” for the race.
As religious devotees and heavy metal fans are well aware of, “666” is considered the number of the beast in the Bible, and Thacker didn’t want to risk her faith just to compete.
“I didn’t want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number,” Thacker said, according to AZCentral.com.
Gina Croley, Thacker’s cross country coach, sensed the junior might have problems wearing this particular number.
“I saw it and I was like, ‘whoa,'” she said, according to WLEX-TV. “I don’t think she will wear that number.”
Croley tried to get the number changed, but officials for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association denied the request. At that point, Thacker decided not to compete.
“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,” Thacker said, according to WKYT-TV.
A spokesperson for the KHSAA said that race officials would have granted Thacker’s request had they been made aware it was for religious reasons, UPI.com reported.