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July 15 Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Carefully balancing their trays, servers leave the start line at the second annual Air France Waiters Race in Portland, Ore., on July 15, 2006. Jim Bailey of Bluehour (no. 25, left) beat co-worker Allen Weimer (no. 24, center), last year's winner Mike Phillips (no. 12, right) and the rest of the field to win a round-trip plane ticket from San Francisco to Paris. To win the race, waiters walk the roughly one-mile course carrying a tray with three filled glasses and a bottle of water. Penalties are added to their time for any spills.

It's not as easy as it looks—cups tumble and water splashes out of Steve Cebula's bottle as he loses control of his tray rounding turn 4.

The Waiters Race was part of Bastille Day celebrations in Portland, organized by Alliance Francaise de Portland. The Alliance is one of more than 1,100 chapters of the worldwide organization that promotes the French language and culture in 138 countries.