The women's marathon in Doha will go ahead despite the heat. Photo: EPA/Miguel Angel Polo

DOHA – The women's marathon at the world athletics championships will go ahead as planned on Friday and will start at midnight amid worries over the extreme heat in Doha, the sport's governing body (IAAF) said.

The marathon is the first of the road races at the 10-day event and they will all start around midnight to alleviate the effects of the brutal temperatures but there are still concerns about the athletes' welfare.

The IAAF said in a statement that the latest weather forecast confirmed that the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT), which is based on a combination of factors including air temperature, humidity, wind direction and cloud cover, would be at or below 30 Celsius.

"This is within the range (28 to 30.9 degrees WBGT) that has been predicted and planned for in the past six months," it said.

It said team leaders and doctors had been briefed about conditions for endurance events and all 69 women on the start list were still scheduled to start the race.

The IAAF said any decision to alter the starting time would be made by 2230 local time (1930 GMT), on the recommendation of the event doctor who also has the authority to withdraw any athlete before or during the race if they appear to be suffering "severe distress." 

Reuters