A former international athlete representing both England and Great Britain, Russ studied at Leeds Beckett University (Carnegie) and Loughborough University. He was a teacher of Physical Education for 14 years, including as Head of Department in two large secondary schools. In 2005, he moved into the School Improvement Service at Stockport Council as the Physical Education Consultant. He continues to provide physical education and school sport advice, support and guidance to schools; is leading on Stockport’s Active Communities Strategy and is a member of the Public Health Senior Management Team as strategic lead for both physical activity and healthy weight. He also sits on the North Western Counties Physical Education Association Research and Professional Development Committee and is a school governor at a local primary school.