Paul Hession has been forced to pull out of this weekend's Irish Indoor Championships because of injury.
Olympic Games-qualified Hession is ruled out by an Achilles strain.
Derval O'Rourke, who has been pre-selected for next month's World Indoors in Instanbul, will be the big name in action at Belfast's Odyssey Arena.
Ben Reynolds will take on Peter Coghlan in the men's hurdles while others in action in Belfast include Amy Foster, Robert Heffernan and Kelly Proper.
Walker Heffernan, who will be aiming for his 14th national title, has just returned from two months' of warm weather training in Australia.
"I love competing in the indoor national championships and this year we have a really top quality field, which is exciting as it's not often that Irish spectators get to see top class race walkers in action," said the Corkman.
Heffernan will be joined by Letterkenny AC athlete Brendan Boyce who achieved the Olympic 50k qualifying time last September.
Silver medallist over the last two years Colin Griffin will be hoping to get his year off to a good start after a disappointing 2011.
Jamie Costin will also hope to be in medal contention as he seeks to qualify for his fourth Olympic Games while Michael Doyle, who competed at last year's World Student Games, will also take to the start line.
In-form US-based athletes such as Ciaran O'Lionaird and David McCarthy are not returning home for the event as they are racing in America over the weekend.