The immortalized chorus from the Boston hit song “Long Time” is crooned through the buttery, bass voice of Isaac Easley as we sit in his dorm room in Taylor Place on a lazy Saturday evening with the muted San Francisco 49ers game ending in the background.
It's been such a long time, I think I should be goin', yeah.
This was the favorite song of his late friend and ASU student Daniel Kemp, who committed suicide Dec. 21.
Kemp was in his sophomore year at ASU and enrolled in the Barrett Honors College, majoring in secondary education. In support of Kemp and his family, Easley ran the P.F. Chang’s marathon wearing an orange San Francisco Giants cap with the signatures from his family and friends.
Shortly after Kemp’s death Easley decided he was going to run the full race, from Phoenix through Scottsdale and finishing in Tempe, in his friend’s memory, even though leading up to it he was only training for a half-marathon.
“I had to do something. I’m a college student; I don’t have a lot of money. I’ve been training for the half-marathon. I wanted to do something special. I figured, I wanted to do a challenge because Daniel was always about sports, man, and always about challenging,” Easley says. “He always made lists. He was from the bay, he would talk about the Stanford Cardinals and about the San Francisco Giants.”
Those interests extended beyond sports, Easley says. Kemp had diverse tastes — music (especially the Beatles), history, politics.
Angie Millar, a sophomore journalism student, says she remembers meeting Daniel her freshman year at the Barrett Boot Camp. There was a talk about the 'Harry Potter' series, which led to talk of Kemp's celebrity crush on actress Emma Watson, which led to a blossoming friendship between Kemp and Millar. Millar says she felt Kemp was one of her best friends.
“He had a knack for making people feel really great. He was just a jokester,” she says. “He gave the best hugs and committed to his hugs. He was smart, and he was driven. He loved girly music — we spent car rides listening to NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, Ke$ha, but he was also a sports fan; he was kind of a conundrum,” Millar says.
A couple days after Kemp’s death, Easley contacted Kemp’s friends and told them about his intentions of running the race.
“We were all really supportive of him because we knew that was kind of his way of commemorating him,” Millar says.
But the night before the race, Easley says he felt some hesitation.
“If I was running the full-marathon now, I probably wouldn’t make it. My pair of legs, yeah, I probably wouldn’t make it,” he says. “We will finish this together. It’s not me running this, it’s we.”
Not only did Easley make it, he shattered his previous marathon time by 30 minutes.
“I was running with Daniel and all the thoughts and prayers of his friends and family. Every time I felt tired, this burst of energy came into me and I managed to keep running,” Easley says.
The feeling resonated as he crossed the finish line.
“That one’s for you Daniel,” he said as he hoisted his cap to the sky.
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Correction: Daniel Kemp's favorite song was incorrectly stated to be "Foreplay" by Boston. The actual name of the song is "Long Time," sometimes paired together as "Foreplay/Long Time." In addition, Kemp was a secondary education major with a focus in history, not a history major.