Maruko's sister has a new teacher. She is complaining that he is far too enthusiastic:

Sister quoting teacher:「『体をきたえたい者は、オレについてこいっ』なんて言っちゃって、グラウンドを走っちゃってるのよ」
"Follow me if you want to improve your bodies" he said and ran off through the school grounds.
Towards the setting sun????
That's right. Towards the setting sun.
There's no idiot that would run towards the setting sun on their own.
... (Dad says something about this being the definition of youth)
All the same, I don't think people face the setting sun and run.

I fear that much of my translation is dodgy, but I'm really struggling with 夕陽の中を. How should I translate this? Why would Maruko infer that this was how/where he ran, and why is it surprising? Am I missing a cultural reference here?

If you see any errors in the rest of my translation I'd be greatful if you could point them out.

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    I think theねぇ~ in this case doesn't mean negation, but the ね that requesting for affirmation. – nhahtdh Aug 29 '16 at 10:43
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    ^ Yes, the ねぇ is the 終助詞(sentence-ending particle) ね, not the negative ない. – Chocolate Aug 29 '16 at 13:43

夕日に向かって走る is translated as "run towards the setting sun" and it implies 熱い青春(hot blossom of youth). I think 夕日の中を走る means "run in the light of the setting sun" and it can also imply 熱い青春.

I think TV dramas of blossom of youth were popular in Maruko's childhood. In these TV dramas, a dashing teacher often runs towards the setting sun while saying "夕日に向かって走ろう (Let's run towards the setting sun)" to his students. So it came to imply 熱い青春(hot blossom of youth).

I think the sisters might be looking at their new teacher with a cold eye who was affected by TV dramas like that.

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~を走る has usually the meaning "to run through ~". Now one might think "How can anyone run through the (setting) sun"?

According to kotobank, a proper definition for 夕陽 is "夕方の太陽。また、その光。". So it can be either the evening sun itself, or the light from this sun. So the entire meaning of 夕陽の中を走る becomes "to run through (the middle of) the light of the setting sun" or without any poetic nuances simply "to run at nightfall".

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I think 「夕日に向かって」 is natural. グラウンド(校庭)

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