Mushing Community Loses Friend & Mentor

March 24, 2021

On March 20, 2021 Michigan’s mushing community lost a long-time friend and mentor with the passing of Al Hardman.  Al was a businessman from Ludington who spent a good deal of time in the Upper Peninsula.  He was an accomplished musher with five Iditarod finishes (1997, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008).   As happens with mushers, Al signed up for the 2008 Iditarod after vowing that the 2004 run would be his last time there.  Besides Iditarod, he ran numerous races including the UP200 and Midnight Run.  In a sport that sometimes sees early retirees, Al continued to train and race dogs into his 70’s, finishing the Midnight Run in 2015 and 2016.  That’s consistent with Al’s mushing career since he didn’t become involved with the sport until he was in his 50’s.

Al was a mentor to many mushers, seen often at races and training camps.  He was instrumental in organizing the Seney 300, a wilderness race in the Upper Peninsula designed to help mushers learn the art of long-distance mushing.  While not all mushers who had the opportunity to learn from Al went on to Iditarod, he definitely helped them become better mushers.

Al is survived by his wife, five children, eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  The UPSDA extends our condolences to Al’s family and friends.  He will long be remembered as one of our kind and gentle competitors, a friend and mentor.