Why would a runner back out of a race over a number? You could say the devil made her do it.

Codie Thacker, a junior on the cross country team at Kentucky's Whitley County High School has backed out of a race because she had been given the number 666, which she says violates her religious beliefs. The number 666 is considered to be the mark of the beast.

Thacker and her coach campaigned for a different number to no avail. Thacker said her beliefs come first:

I didn't want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number….I told them to mark out my name because it makes me sick just thinking that my name is associated with that number.”

Thacker is taking quite a stand here in this latest offbeat scholastic sports story to break in Kentucky. If she had won the race – which she says she’s been training for since June -- she would’ve qualified for the state championship.

Thacker does plan to race again next year.

[LEX 18]