Unlike the elite runners from around the world with whom he gather at the starting line this Saturday, Marblehead resident Paul McLaughlin still has his vision. He will give up use of the sense, however, donning a blindfold for the Vision 5K run, and in doing so will take a long-standing commitment to helping the blind and visually impaired to a whole new level.

A guide with a two-foot tether will lead McLaughlin. He laughed when asked how he trained for the event, saying, “I’m not much of a runner. I was supposed to show up for practice sessions with the tether, but my schedule’s so busy I wasn't able to do that. I’ll be assigned a guide that day. I’m just going to have to trust the people I’m with.”

McLaughlin is the former chief financial officer with Little, Brown and Company. His publishing background exposed him to the special needs of the visually impaired.

McLaughlin has been chairman of the National Braille Press, the 80-year-old Boston-based nonprofit Braille printing and publishing house, for seven years and has worked with the organization for 25 years. Last year, National Braille Press manufactured 15 million Braille pages using special translation software and computer-driven equipment, according to its Web site, www.nbp.org.

“Braille is so important — to the blind, it’s literacy,” he explained. “It’s a basic need for us to read books and newspapers, and if someone took all that away from you, what would it be like? Blind people need access, they need the opportunity, which helps them get good jobs.”

McLaughlin decided over the winter that he would run this year’s event. He had to decline the invitation the first time around, but promised he would run as soon as he was able.

“(Fundraising for the blind) has really built itself up over the years,” he said. “You pay your dues up front with the Vision 5K. It’s a major event.”

McLaughlin pledged to raise a minimum of $1,500 for the National Braille Press when he signed on to run the race. He will be running as part of the McCue and Friends team, formed by his current workplace in Salem. On the company’s Web page, McCue Corporation credits McLaughlin for introducing his fellow employees to the benefits of the Braille Press.

McLaughlin's wife, Patricia, shares Paul’s commitment to the visually impaired, volunteering for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind, driving a blind woman to do her grocery shopping and other errands.

The June 2 race will raise funds to benefit a partnership of five organizations, which support the blind and visually impaired: the Carroll Center for the Blind, the Greater Boston Guild for the Blind, Perkins School for the Blind, the National Braille Press and MAB (Massachusetts Association for the Blind) Community Services.

Twenty-year Boston Marathon Director Dave McGillivray directs the race.

McGillivray said, “This race is about embracing possibilities. Our goal is to establish Vision 5K as a premier event that showcases what blind and sighted athletes can accomplish together.”

It’s a challenge McGillivray has undertaken himself and then some, having run the 1983 Boston Marathon blindfolded with the aid of two guides. In doing so, he raised $10,000 for the Carroll Center for the Blind.

The Vision 5K walk and run begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 2 at Roberto Clemente Field between Fenway and the Museum of Fine Arts. The event will be a family-friendly one, with activities planned for children such as a kid’s run, food booths from local restaurants and live entertainment.

Don’t expect McLaughlin to rest on his laurels after finishing his blindfolded run this week. He is well into planning for the next major Boston event, Hands On for Children, which he hopes will raise over a million dollars for the National Braille Press.

”It will take place on Oct. 26,” he said. “Jay Leno’s going to host it. We have a lot of great people lined up already: Jonathan Kraft from the Patriots, the head of Tufts Health Plan, Tom Sullivan from Lumber Liquidators, the head of Sovereign Bank. It’s for the kids. It’s very exciting.”

For more information or to make a donation to the foundation, visit McLaughlin’s Web site at www.active.com/donate/vision5Knbp2007/mccue.