This will be Heffernan’s (Togher AC) first race since pulling out of the European Championships last summer and there is expected to be a host of top quality competition in the small spa city in the south of Slovakia.
Heffernan will be looking to first go under the World championships qualifying time (3:55:00), which he should do with ease.
“Thanks to the higher category of the race, we’ve had huge interest from competitors,” said event director, Julius Nyarjas.
The most competitive battle will be in the 50km, which is also the main race, with 57 race walkers. Heffernan’s toughest opponent will come from European silver medallist Matej Toth.
Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny) and Alex Wright (Leevale) will also compete in the 50km race while Luke Hickey (Leevale) competes in the 20km.
The SIAB Schools International Cross Country takes place in Santry Demesne today with the Irish team facing athletes from England, Scotland and Wales.
Leading the Irish charge will be junior champions Sarah Healy (Holy Child, Killiney) and Darragh McElhinney (Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí), along with intermediate champions Caoimhe Harrington (Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí) and James Edgar (Friends’ School Lisburn).
The GloHealth National Juvenile Indoor Championships also take place this weekend in the AIT International Arena, Athlone.