Kia Vehicles to Set the Pace at U.S. Bank OC Marathon

April 27th, 2017

Kia Vehicles to Set the Pace at U.S. Bank OC Marathon

Fitness, Hamsters and a Super Bowl favorite highlight first-time partnership

ORANGE COUNTY, California – In its first-ever year as Official Automotive Sponsor for the 13th annual U.S. Bank OC Marathon, Kia Motors America will showcase its revolutionary crossover, the all-new 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid, as the official Pace Car of the three-day Running Festival that expects some 23,000 runners. The same vehicle comedienne Melissa McCarthy drove to Super Bowl advertising gold for the brand in February, the Niro will lead runners at the starting line of the full and half marathons while the brand’s popular Hamsters will set the Kids Run the OC pace with the 2017 Kia Soul EV, Kia’s first mass-market zero emissions, battery electric vehicle.

Kia Motors America has long promoted a culture of healthy living for its employees, making it the perfect fit for the U.S. Bank OC Marathon. With more than 25 employees from Kia’s corporate headquarters in Irvine, California, joining the event’s new “OC Corporate Challenge,” they are eager to finish strong in the “medium sized” category and be one of the OCM’s Fittest Firms.

The Southern California Kia Dealers are proud sponsors. “Kia and our dealers are dedicated to giving back to the communities we call home,” said Greg Grulikowski, Director, Regional Operations, Western Region, Kia Motors America.  “The Orange County Marathon Running Festival is an extraordinary opportunity to help the community pursue a healthier lifestyle while sharing an amazing day with friends and neighbors.” Grulikowski, who has competed in the OCM before, will drive one of the Kia Niro pace cars to lead off the festivities and also plans to compete in the Wahoo’s OC 5K with his son.

“The U.S. Bank OC Marathon is thrilled to partner with Kia Motors, the fastest growing auto brand in the last decade,” said Gary Kutscher, event director for the OCM. “We look forward to working with Kia to bring their vision, engaging our runners from the social media campaign prior to the event and throughout their entire OCM journey.”

A Big Presence

Kia Motors will have a vast presence with several vantage points throughout the event site and at the OC Lifestyle and Fitness Expo. Participants will be able to discover Kia¹s full lineup of high-quality, stylish and technologically-advanced vehicles. Kia will have Brand Ambassadors on site to interact with attendees, and allow people to sit in and check out the vehicles. Additionally, the Niro will lead runners from the starting line at Fashion Island in Newport Beach and pace them throughout the destination race’s picturesque course, ending at the OC Fair Center finish line festivities.

Another draw will be the Kia Soul Hamsters who will appear at the Kids Run the OC presented by Nutrilite event on Saturday, May 6, which expects to host a record 9,500 children from 136 Orange County schools. All about finding the good in the world, two of the most popular Hamsters — Rasta and Rocker Girl — will cheer the kids on at the starting line, give high fives all around and be available for photo ops.

The Niro: Already a Fan Favorite

The small hybrid utility CUV made its debut on network television during Super Bowl LI in a commercial that features McCarthy in various life-threatening situations as she endeavors to save the planet. The single most popular commercial to air during the 2017 broadcast, the spot won the coveted USA TODAY Ad Meter poll and topped the YouTube AdBlitz.

About the U.S. Bank OC Marathon:

In its 13th year, the U.S. Bank OC Marathon and Half Marathon (May 7, 2017) welcomes runners from more than 20 countries and all 50 states. The course is considered one of the best destination races on the West Coast with its diverse terrain, changing vistas and majestic ocean views beginning in Newport Beach, CA, traversing four Orange County cities and finishing with the Ultimate Finish Line Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center.

The three-day event also includes the OC Lifestyle and Fitness Expo, the Kids Run the OC — one of the largest youth running days in the country with nearly 10,000 children finishing their “Final Mile” on Saturday morning — and the Wahoo’s OC 5K on Saturday, May 6th at 5:00 p.m.  Come “Catch the OC Wave”!

For more information about the event or how to get involved, please visit or email us at

About Kia Motors America

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. Recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands and 50 Best Global Green Brands by Interbrand, Kia proudly serves as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA and LPGA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 800 dealers in the U.S., including cars and crossovers built at North American manufacturing plants in West Point, Georgia* and the municipality of Pesqueria in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

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* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX, SX & Limited and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.


Kia Vehicles to Set the Pace at U.S. Bank OC Marathon

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Julie Karges

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