Alana Barber will burn the midnight oil if she qualifies for the 20km race walk at the world track and field championships in Doha next year.

Athletics New Zealand is yet to set qualifying times for the Qatar-based event, but the prospect of finishing in the top-16 is expected as a pre-requisite.

If the Commonwealth Games silver medallist attends, she will start her race at 11.30pm.

The sport's governing body, the IAAF, is scrapping morning sessions in place of an hour's gap between evening sessions. The competition will also feature a marathon which starts at midnight.


Traditional scheduling for the September 28-October 6 championships has been rejigged due to the high temperatures expected in the Gulf state.

"Never in my life have I raced or trained at that time," Barber told NZME.

"It seems crazy. At the moment I've got no idea how to prepare for that, coming out of a New Zealand winter.

"A lot of top athletes are talking about not going because it might muck up their preparations for other events, but I'm challenged by the idea of racing in those conditions."

The news comes after the 30-year-old broke the New Zealand record - and her personal best - for the distance, clocking one hour 31 minutes and 32 seconds on May 5 at a World Cup in Taicang, China.

Barber has since arrived in Europe where she plans to compete in several races between stints working on a mate's dairy farm in Wales.

She wants to make the most of being in peak shape, and post times good enough to make the New Zealand team next year.

Barber said conditions were ideal for her personal best in China. She finished 23rd at an event where countries can send more than their maximum three-athlete allotment for a world championships or Olympics.

Her next race is on June 2 at La Coruna in Spain.